Cometabolic Vinyl Chloride Degradation at Acidic pH Catalyzed by Acidophilic Methanotrophs Isolated from Alpine Peat Bogs


Munjeong Choi, Taeho YunMin Joon SongJisun KimByoung-Hee LeeFrank E. LöfflerSukhwan Yoon


Remediation of toxic chlorinated ethenes via microbial reductive dechlorination can lead to ethene formation; however, the process stalls in acidic groundwater, leading to the accumulation of carcinogenic vinyl chloride (VC). This study explored the feasibility of cometabolic VC degradation by moderately acidophilic methanotrophs. Two novel isolates, Methylomonas sp. strain JS1 and Methylocystis sp. strain MJC1, were obtained from distinct alpine peat bogs located in South Korea. Both isolates cometabolized VC with CH4 as the primary substrate under oxic conditions at pH at or below 5.5. VC cometabolism in axenic cultures occurred in the presence (10 μM) or absence (<0.01 μM) of copper, suggesting that VC removal had little dependence on copper availability, which regulates expression and activity of soluble and particulate methane monooxygenases in methanotrophs. The model neutrophilic methanotroph Methylosinus trichosporium strain OB3b also grew and cometabolized VC at pH 5.0 regardless of copper availability. Bioaugmentation of acidic peat soil slurries with methanotroph isolates demonstrated enhanced VC degradation and VC consumption below the maximum concentration level of 2 μg L–1. Community profiling of the microcosms suggested species-specific differences, indicating that robust bioaugmentation with methanotroph cultures requires further research.

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Choi M, Yun T, Song MJ, Kim J, Lee B-H, Löffler FE, Yoon S.2021. Cometabolic vinyl chloride degradation at acidic pH catalyzed by acidophilic methanotrophs isolated from alpine peat bogs. Environmental Science & Technology doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c08766.