Assessment of aerobic biodegradation of lower-chlorinated benzenes in contaminated groundwater using field-derived microcosms and compound-specific carbon isotope fractionation

Ernest Marco-Urrea , Alba Trueba-Santiso , Jordi Palau , Jesica M. Soder-Walz , Teresa Vicent


Received October 07, 2021,Revised , Accepted December 20, 2021, Available online January 03, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 204-213

Biodegradation of lower chlorinated benzenes (tri-, di- and monochlorobenzene) was assessed at a coastal aquifer contaminated with multiple chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons. Field-derived microcosms, established with groundwater from the source zone and amended with a mixture of lower chlorinated benzenes, evidenced biodegradation of monochlorobenzene (MCB) and 1,4-dichlorobenzene (1,4-DCB) in aerobic microcosms, whereas the addition of lactate in anaerobic microcosms did not enhance anaerobic reductive dechlorination. Aerobic microcosms established with groundwater from the plume consumed several doses of MCB and concomitantly degraded the three isomers of dichlorobenzene with no observable inhibitory effect. In the light of these results, we assessed the applicability of compound stable isotope analysis to monitor a potential aerobic remediation treatment of MCB and 1,4-DCB in this site. The carbon isotopic fractionation factors (ε) obtained from field-derived microcosms were -0.7‰ ± 0.1 ‰ and -1.0‰ ± 0.2 ‰ for MCB and 1,4-DCB, respectively. For 1,4-DCB, the carbon isotope fractionation during aerobic biodegradation was reported for the first time. The weak carbon isotope fractionation values for the aerobic pathway would only allow tracing of in situ degradation in aquifer parts with high extent of biodegradation. However, based on the carbon isotope effects measured in this and previous studies, relatively high carbon isotope shifts (i.e., ∆δ13C > 4.0 ‰) of MCB or 1,4-DCB in contaminated groundwater would suggest that their biodegradation is controlled by anaerobic reductive dechlorination.

Copyright © Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press. All rights reserved.京ICP备05002858号-3