Degradation of perchloroethylene and dichlorophenol by pulsed-electric discharge and bioremediation

Dennis C. Yee, Sadhana Chauhan, Efim Yankelevich, Vitaly Bystritskii, Thomas K. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Pulsed electric discharge (PED) and bioremediation were combined to create a novel two-stage system which dechlorinates the halogenated pollutants, 2,4-dichlorophenol and perchloroethylene, with repetitive (0.1-1 kHz), short pulse (~100 ns), low voltage (40-80 kV) discharges and then mineralizes the less chlorinated products with aerobic bacteria. A 6.1 mM aqueous dichlorophenol sample was cycled through the PED reactor (60 kV of applied pulsed voltage and 300 Hz) 6 times, resulting in the release of 55% of the initial dichlorophenol chloride ions (1 mM Cl- removed each cycle). The respective average specific efficiency is 0.4-0.6 keV/(Cl-molecule). Pseudomonas mendocina KR1, which grows in minimal medium supplemented with phenol but not with dichlorophenol, increased in cell density in all cultures supplemented with the PED-treated DCP samples and yielded a maximum of two- fold additional Cl- released compared to the PED-related alone. The number of PED-treatment cycles, voltage, and frequency were also varied, showing that both cell densities and overall dichlorophenol dechlorination were highly dependent upon the number of PED-treatment cycles, rather than the tested voltages and frequencies. Using this two-stage treatment system, PED released 31% of the initial chloride ions from dichlorophenol (after three cycles at 40-45 kV and 1.2 kHz) while P. mendocina KR1 in the second stage increased dechlorination to 90%. These results were corroborated by the 35% additional chloride release found with activated sludge cultures. Perchloroethylene (0.6 mM) was similarly treated in a first-stage PED reactor (80% chloride removal after four cycles) followed by biodegradation of the dechlorinated products with a recombinant toluene o-monooxygenase-expressing Pseudomonas fluorescens strain. Gas chromatographic analysis showed that the PED reactor created less-chlorinated byproducts (i.e., trichloroethylene) that were removed (74%) upon exposure to the recombinant bacterium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-444
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 20 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'Degradation of perchloroethylene and dichlorophenol by pulsed-electric discharge and bioremediation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this