Electrochemical stimulation of microbial perchlorate reduction

J. Cameron Thrash, J. Ian Van Trump, Karrie A. Weber, Elisabeth Miller, Laurie A. Achenbach, John D. Coates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


As part of our studies into the diversity of dissimilatory perchlorate reducing bacteria (DPRB) we investigated the reduction of perchlorate in the cathodic chamber of a bioelectrical reactor (BER). Our results demonstrated that washed cells of Dechloromonas and Azospira species readily reduced 90 mg L -1 perchlorate in the BER with 2,6-anthraquinone disulfonate (AQDS) as a mediator. No perchlorate was reduced in the absence of cells or AQDS, or in an open-circuit control. Similar results were observed when a natural microbial community was inoculated into a fed-batch BER. After 70 days of operation, a novel DPRB, strain VDY, was isolated which readily reduced perchlorate in a mediatorless BER. Continuous up-flow BERs (UFBERs) were seeded with active cultures of strain VDY, and perchlorate at a volumetric loading of 60 mg L -1 day-1 was successfully removed. Gas phase analysis indicated that low levels of H2 produced at the cathode surface through electrolysis may mediate this metabolism. The results of these studies demonstrate that biological perchlorate remediation can be facilitated through the use of a cathode as the primary electron donor, and that continuous treatment in such a system approaches current industry standards. This has important implications for the continuous treatment of this critical contaminant in industrial waste streams and drinking water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1740-1746
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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