A limited investigation of the potential for anaerobic ethylene biodegradation under SO4-reducing conditions was performed. Microorganisms indigenous to a lake-bed sediment completely mineralized [1,2-14C] ethylene to 14CO2 when incubated under SO4-reducing conditions. Reliance on ethylene and/or ethane accumulation as a quantitative indicator of complete reductive dechlorination of chloroethylene contaminants may not be warranted. SO4 addition stimulated SO4 reduction as indicated by decreasing SO4 concentrations (> 40% decrease) and production of dissolved sulfide (880 ??M). SO4 amendment completely suppressed the production of ethane and methane. The concomitant absence of ethane and methane production under SO4-amended conditions was consistent with previous conclusions that reduction of ethylene to ethane occurred under methanogenic conditions. A lack of ethylene accumulation under SO4-reducing conditions may reflect insignificant reductive dechlorination of vinyl chloride or efficient anaerobic mineralization of ethylene to CO2.
Additional publication details
Microbial mineralization of ethene under sulfate-reducing conditions