Perchlorate reduction by a novel chemolithoautotrophic, hydrogen-oxidizing bacterium

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Water treatment technologies are needed that can remove perchlorate from drinking water without introducing organic chemicals that stimulate bacterial growth in water distribution systems. Hydrogen is an ideal energy source for bacterial degradation of perchlorate as it leaves no organic residue and is sparingly soluble. We describe here the isolation of a perchlorate-respiring, hydrogen-oxidizing bacterium (Dechloromonas sp. strain HZ) that grows with carbon dioxide as sole carbon source. Strain HZ is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped facultative anaerobe that was isolated from a gas-phase anaerobic packed-bed biofilm reactor treating perchlorate-contaminated groundwater. The ability of strain HZ to grow autotrophically with carbon dioxide as the sole carbon source was confirmed by demonstrating that biomass carbon (100.9%) was derived from CO2. Chemolithotrophic growth with hydrogen was coupled with complete reduction of perchlorate (10 mM) to chloride with a maximum doubling time of 8.9 h. Strain HZ also grew using acetate as the electron donor and chlorate, nitrate, or oxygen (but not sulphate) as an electron acceptor. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA sequence placed strain HZ in the genus Dechloromonas within the β subgroup of the Proteobacteria. The study of this and other novel perchlorate-reducing bacteria may lead to new, safe technologies for removing perchlorate and other chemical pollutants from drinking water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-576
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental microbiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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