Dehalorespiration model that incorporates the self-inhibition and biomass inactivation effects of high tetrachloroethene concentrations

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In the vicinity of dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) contaminant source zones, aqueous concentrations of tetrachloroethene (PCE) in groundwater may approach saturation levels. In this study, the ability of two PCE-respiring strains {Desulfuromonas michiganensis and Desulfitobac- terium strain PCE1) to dechlorinate high concentrations of PCE was experimentally evaluated and depended on the initial biomass concentration. This suggests high PCE concentrations permanently inactivated a fraction of biomass, which, if sufficiently large, prevented dechlorination from proceeding. The toxic effects of PCE were incorporated into a model of dehalorespirer growth by adapting the transformation capacity concept previously applied to describe biomass inactivation by products of cometabolic TCE oxidation. The inactivation growth model was coupled to the Andrews substrate utilization model, which accounts for the self-inhibitory effects of PCE on dechlorination rates, and fit to the experimental data. The importance of incorporating biomass inactivation and self-inhibition effects when modeling reductive dechlorination of high PCE concentrations was demonstrated by comparing the goodness- of-fit of the Andrews biomass inactivation and three alternate models that do capture these factors. The newdehalorespiration model should improve our ability to predict contaminant removal in DNAPL source zones and determine the inoculum size needed to successfully implement bioaugmentation of DNAPL source zones. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

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Environmental Science and Technology