Reactive transport modeling for aerobic metabolic trichloroethene degradation

Determination of monod parameters and development of monitoring methods for chloroethene-contaminated aquifers

Sensitive Kinetics System: Continuous measurement of biomass growth via light scattering

A new biologically productive degradation pathway of trichloroethene is promising for the elimination of pollutants in groundwater. To determine the site-specific degradation potential, and to monitor the processes taking place in the groundwater, precise simulation models are required, which are currently not available.

Contaminations of volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons continue to threaten groundwater as the most important drinking water resource worldwide and prevent land use and reuse. Tetrachloroethene (perchloroethene, PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) are widely used solvents and are the common groundwater contaminants. Recently, a new aerobic degradation pathway of TCE has been described, which offers benefits as compared to conventional processes, such as no requirement of auxiliary substrates and no competitive reactions for oxygen consumption. This aerobic productive degradation of TCE represents a promising possibility for the elimination of pollutants in groundwater. There is a need among site owners, consultants and technical authorities to determine the site-specific degradation potential and to monitor the biodegradation processes. Therefore, together with a medium-sized company, the project objective is the development of an innovative reactive mass transport model that describes the aerobic degradation of chloroethenes based on the monod degradation kinetics of the microorganisms. For the first time, a module based on data from extensive studies of the growth kinetics of TCE-degrading microorganisms will be developed. At the TZW, the input parameters for the monod kinetics will be determined in laboratory experiments. Methods for the determination of biomass for aerobic TCE-degraders will be established and validated using groundwater samples from different sites.


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)

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