Bioaugmentation and Monitoring Methods (BioChlor)

Development for Aerobic Chloroethene Biodegradation in Groundwater - Joint German-Israeli Water Cooperation

In the German-Israeli cooperation project BioChlor, in cooperation with the Ben Gurion University (Israel), the aerobic metabolic chloroethene degradation is investigated closely with molecular biological methods. On this basis, new monitoring methods and bioaugmentation technologies for aerobic chloroethene degraders will be developed.

Contaminated sites affect groundwater which is one of the most important drinking water resources worldwide. Efficient and cost-effective remediation processes for the removal of pollutants from groundwater and soil are therefore necessary. Chloroethenes frequently contaminate groundwater in Germany and Israel. These compounds are particularly persistent and harmful, making the remediation of groundwater a complex challenge. Recently the collaborative research of the German and Israeli teams has characterized aerobic metabolic degradation pathways that overcome the shortcomings of the hitherto existing anaerobic bioremediation concepts.

In the proposed project the overall goal is to develop new remediation strategies and monitoring tools for aerobic chloroethene biodegradation. The recently discovered metabolic aerobic TCE degradation can be applied on-site or in-situ and has the following advantages: there is no formation of hazardous metabolites and side reactions and there is low requirement for oxygen at contaminated sites. Investigation of aerobic degradation will describe and genetically identify the organisms being responsible for aerobic chloroethene degradation for the first time, based on the unique enrichment culture from TZW. Bioaugmentation studies of aerobic chloroethene degrading bacteria will also be utilized to stimulate aerobic remediation processes. All developed methods and approaches will be evaluated in laboratory systems as well as using real samples from field sites in Israel and Germany to demonstrate applicability under a range of field conditions.


Gaza S., Schmidt K.R., Weigold P., Heidinger M., Tiehm A.:  Aerobic metabolic trichloroethene biodegradation under field-relevant conditions. Water Research 151: 343-348 (2019) DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2018.12.022

Schmidt K., Gaza S., Voropaev A., Ertl S., Tiehm A.: Aerobic biodegradation of trichloroethene without auxiliary substrates. Water Research 59: 112-118 (2014) DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2014.04.008

Schmidt K.R., Augenstein T., Heidinger M., Ertl S., Tiehm A.:  Aerobic biodegradation of cis-1,2-dichloroethene as sole carbon source: Stable carbon isotope fractionation and growth characteristics. Chemosphere 78: 527-532 (2010)

Schmidt K.R., Tiehm A.:  Natural Attenuation am Chlorethen-Standort Frankenthal: Bedeutung des sequentiell anaerob-aeroben Bio-Abbaus. Altlastenspektrum 05.11: 212-219 (2011)

Gaza S.:  Aerob-produktiver Abbau von Chlorethenen: Nachweis eines neuen Abbauweges für Trichlorethen. Veröffentlichungen aus dem Technologiezentrum Wasser, ISSN 1434-5765, TZW-Band 66 (2015)

Volumes from the TZW publication series can be purchased here.