Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014NJ353B

Microbially mediated dehalogenation of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) in New Jersey river sediments

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Hang Dam, Max Haggblom

Abstract: New Jersey is one of three known hot spots of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin (PCDD) contamination in the world. Fish consumption advisories have been issued for contaminated rivers in New Jersey watersheds. Recent attempts to remove large quantities of contaminated sediments from contaminated rivers evoke a concern that PCDDs can be dispersed from theiroriginal reservoirs and enter the biota. Moreover, due to their bioaccumulation and biomagnification, lower amounts of PCDDs in the environment can still have negative effects on humans and the ecosystem in the area. Reductive dehalogenation has the potential to detoxify highly chlorinated PCDDs. It is a respiratory process by whichsome specific groups of anaerobic bacteria gain energy for growth. The products of reductive dehalogenation of chlorinated dioxins are more prone to further aerobic attack, and eventual transformation to non-toxic compounds. Reductive dehalogenation has been intensively studied and successfully applied in bioremediation of trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene in the United States. Bioremediation of PCDD contaminated sediments, however, is still a challenging task. The goal of this research is to understand the dehalogenation of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins by anaerobic microbial communities in order to enhance the bioremediation processes.