Effect of Copresence of Zerovalent Iron and Sulfate Reducing Bacteria on Reductive Dechlorination of Trichloroethylene

Syful Islam, Asef Redwan, Kayleigh Millerick, Jan Filip, Lingfei Fan, Weile Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sulfur amendment of zerovalent iron (ZVI) materials has been shown to improve the reactivity and selectivity of ZVI toward a select group of organohalide contaminants in groundwater, most notably trichloroethene (TCE). In previous studies, chemical or mechanochemical sulfidation methods were used; however, the potential of using sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) to enable sulfur amendment has not been closely examined. In this study, lab-synthesized nanoscale ZVI (nZVI) and Peerless iron particles (ZVIPLS) were treated in a sulfate-reducing monoculture (D. desulfuricans) and an enrichment culture derived from freshwater sediments (AMR-1) prior to reactivity assessments with TCE as the model contaminant. ZVI conditioned in both cultures exhibited higher dechlorination efficiencies compared to unamended ZVIs. Remarkably, nZVI and ZVIPLS exposed to AMR-1 attained similar TCE dechlorination rates as their counterparts receiving chemical sulfidation (i.e., S-nZVI) using previously reported method. Product distribution data show that, in the SRB-ZVI system, abiotic dechlorination is the dominant TCE reduction pathway. In addition to dissolved sulfide, biogenic or synthesized FeS particles can enhance nZVI reactivity even as nZVI and FeS were not in direct contact, implying that SRB may influence the reactivity of ZVI via multiple mechanisms in different remediation situations. A shift in Archaea abundance in AMR-1 with nZVI amendment was observed but not with ZVIPLS. Overall, the synergy exhibited in the SRB-ZVI system may offer a valuable remediation strategy to overcome limitations of standalone biological or abiotic dechlorination approaches for chlorinated solvent abatement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4851-4861
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 20 2021


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