The Microbial Degradation of TCE (Trichloroethylene).
Final rept. 30 Apr 83-31 Jul 86,
AIR FORCE ENGINEERING AND SERVICES CENTER TYNDALL AFB FL ENGINEERING AND SERV ICES LAB
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The objective of this research was to characterize naturally occurring microorganisms capable of degrading trichloroethylene TCE. Microorganisms tolerant to TCE were isolated from an aeration tower at Wurtsmith AFB MI and from industrial sludges at Hill AFB UT. Isolates from the Wurtsmith samples exhibited the highest density of cells with TCE as the only apparent organic carbon source and were selected as the inoculum for degradation studies. However, the capability of selected microorganisms to degrade TCE was not substantiated in both gas chromatography analyses and samples inoculated in culture bottles. Experiments using radiolabeled carbon-14 to study assimilation suggest that TCE is metabolized into a polar form by the microorganism. Subsequent cultures grown in radiolabeled TCE did not duplicate the previous results possible because of contamination, selection of variants or loss of culture. The organism responsible or the apparent TCE degradation may belong in the genus Citrobacter.