Chlorinated solvents are among the most common kinds of environmental contaminants and microbes have been identified that can break these compounds down for energy sources. One of the most well known is Dehalococcoides, strains of which have been sequenced at the DOE JGI. Researchers working with an anaerobic microbial consortium have found that it can dechlorinate common groundwater contaminants that can lead to the build-up of toxic chlorinated compounds. They have identified four dominant microbes in this community, including Dehalobacter which have long been known to be involved with dechlorinating processes.
Sequencing these four microbial strains would not only provide researchers with more information on how the microbial community performs the dechlorination process, but also identify potential other contaminants that these microbes can break down. Additionally, the information on Dehalobacter will allow researchers to do comparative analyses between bacteria such as Dehalococcoides, Dehalobacter and Desulfitobacterium to better understand these microbes and their particular metabolic processes. While previous studies by researchers throughout the world have described the bacterium’s ability to remove dechlorinate compounds, they have not provided much information regarding how it does this, and how it interacts with other microbes.
Principal Investigators: Elizabeth Edwards, University of Toronto
Program: CSP 2010