Loffler F, Ritalahti KM, Zinder SH
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, short-chain C1 to C3 chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs) have been manufactured in large amounts and extensively used in industrial, military, agricultural and household applications. The widespread use of CAHs is based on their desirable properties including low cost, easy availability, excellence as solvents, chemical stability, and fire safety (i.e., most chlorinated solvents are nonflammable and do not form explosive mixtures with air). The widespread use, careless handling and storage, ignorance of health effects and environmental dangers, and the lack of regulations over decades of extensive use has resulted in wide-ranging groundwater contamination. A major strategy for the bioremediation of these solvents is reductive dechlorination by microorganisms, most predominantly members of the Dehalococcoides group, the only microbes known to detoxify chlorinated ethenes to ethene. Members of this group have streamlined genomes highly adapted to using chlorinated hydrocarbons as electron acceptors, and are likely to play important roles in reductive dehalogenation of diverse organohalides in the environment.
Loffler F, Ritalahti KM, Zinder SH. 2013. Dehalococcoides and reductive dechlorination of chlorinated solvents, p. 39-88. In Stroo HF, Leeson A, Ward CH (ed.), SERDP ESTCP Environmental Remediation Technology vol. Bioaugmentation for Groundwater Remediation. Springer, New York, NY.