We used current knowledge of cellular processes involved in reductive dechlorination to develop a conceptual model to describe the regulatory system of dechlorination at the cell level; the model links bacterial growth and substrate consumption to the abundance of messenger RNA of functional genes involved in the dechlorination process. The applicability of the model was tested on a treatability study of biostimulated and bioaugmented microcosms. Using quantitative real time PCR, high-resolution expression profiles of the functional reductive dehalogenase genes bvcA and vcrA were obtained during two consecutive dechlorination events of trichlorethene, cis-dichlorethene and vinyl chloride. Up-regulation of the bvcA (for the biostimulated microcosms) and vcrA (for the bioaugmented microcosms) gene expression fitted well with high rates of dechlorination of vinyl chloride, while no known transcripts could be measured during trichloroethene and cis-dichlorethene dechlorination. Maximum concentrations of 2.1 and 1.7 transcripts per gene of the bvcA and vcrA genes, respectively, were measured at the same time points as maximum dechlorination rates were observed. The developed model compared well with the experimental data for both biostimulated and bioaugmented microcosms under non-steady state conditions and was supported by results from a recently published study under steady state conditions.
Water Research, 2013, Vol 47, Issue 7, p. 2467-2478