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Nutrimens®

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Electron Donor

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TersOx™ - Inorganic Peroxygen for Enhanced Aerobic Bioremediation

RemBind designed to treat TPH, PAH, PFOS, PCBs, PCPs, and various pesticides

Sulfate Enhanced Bioremediation 

Cometabolic Bioremediation

Overview

An emerging groundwater remediation practice area to address large dilute groundwater impacts is cometabolic bioremediation. Cometabolism is the simultaneous degradation of two compounds, in which the degradation of the second compound (the secondary substrate) depends on the presence of the first compound (the primary substrate). This bioremediation strategy has been successfully used on some of the most recalcitrant contaminants, e.g., trichloroethene, dichloroethene, vinyl chloride, 1,4-dioxane.

In aerobic cometabolic bioremediation indigenous bacteria are stimulated by adding oxygen and a cometabolic growth substrate to trigger the production of enzymes. These enzymes then oxidize or degrade the target pollutant via cometabolism. Alkane gases such as methane, propane or ethane are commonly used as the primary substrate. Indigenous mircroorganisms while oxidizing the primary substrate for energy and growth express a monooxygenase enzyme that fortuitously degrades the contaminant (the secondary substrate). The enzyme is a protein-like substance that acts as a catalyst for degradation of the contaminant. Contaminant degradation provides no apparent benefit to the microorganism involved. The biodegrader is not dependent on the contaminant for carbon or energy therefore can perform at low levels of contamination as in the case of meeting vinyl chloride groundwater standards.

This method is most useful for bioremediation of pollutants that are not themselves good aerobic growth substrates for bacteria. Bioremediation strategies that employ cometabolism have the advantage of being able to degrade contaminants to trace concentrations, very low parts per billion levels and actually to parts per trillion. This presentation will discuss the importance of cometabolism in the biodegradation of contaminants in the environment. Results and lessons learned from field demonstrations will also be presented.

Cometabolic Bioremediation Substrates, Enzymes, & Contaminants

Cosubstrates

Methane,
Methanol,
Propane,
Propylene
(aerobic)

Ammonia,
Nitrate
(aerobic)

Toluene,
butane,
phenol, citral,
cumin aldehyde,
cumene, and
limonene (aerobic)

Methanol
(anaerobic)

Glucose,
Acetate,
Lactate,
Sulfate,
Pyruvate
(anaerobic)

Enzymes
(microbes)

Methane
Monooxygenase,
Methanol
Dehydrogenase,
Alkene
monooxygenase,
catechol
dioxygenase
(Methylosinus)

Ammonia
Monooxygenase
(Nitrosomonas,
Nitrobacter)

Toluene
Monooxygenase,
Toluene
Dioxygenase
(Rhodococcus,
Pseudomonas,
Arthrobacter)

Alcohol
Dehydrogenases
(Pseudomonas,
Streptomyces,
Corynebacterium)

Dehalogenase,
AtzA,
Dichloromethane
Dehalogenase
(Dehalococcoides,
Methanogens,
Desulfovibrio,
Clostridium,
Geobacter,
Clavibacter)

Contaminants

TCE, DCE, VC,
PAHs, PCBs, MTBE*, creosote, >300 different
compounds

TCE, DCE, VC,
TNT

TCE, DCE, VC,
1,1-DCE, 1,1,1-
TCA

PCE, TCE, DCE, VC,
Hexachlorocyclohexane

BTEX, PCE,
PAHs, Pyrene,
Atrazine, TNT, etc.

*US Patent No. 5,814,514