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Method to Identify Strains of the Genus Dehalococcoides to Enhance Bioremediation

Technology Description: Researchers in Dr. Alfred Spormann’s lab have developed a PCR-based method for analyzing the community composition of bacteria belonging to the genus Dehalococcoides. In much of the 20th century chlorinated organic compounds such as perchoroethylene (PCE) tricholoroethene (TCE) or vinyl chloride (VC) were used for a variety of purposes. These compounds are now common groundwater soil and sediment contaminants and clean-up costs are estimated to be billions of dollars. One method of cleaning-up these contaminants is bioremediation via reductive dechlorination. This is often carried out by organohalide-respiring bacteria such as strains within the genus Dehalococcoides. Different strains of Dehalococcoides have been shown to dechlorinate different compounds as well as being affected by certain environmental parameters to different extents and thus identification of the optimal bioremediation strategy can be challenging. This technology helps overcome this limitation as it is the most directly targeted and highest resolution method for obtaining a census of Dehalococcoides strains. The inventors have shown that their method of strain identification offers higher resolution and sensitivity than existing methods based on 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing. Applications: 1) Bioremediation 2) Assess bioremediation potential 3) Identify optimal strategy 4) Monitor site during bioremediation 5) Quality control- monitor status of culture used for bio-augmentation 6) Research- track linkage of specific reductive dehalogenase genes with specific 7) Dehalococcoides


1) Most directly targeted method to identify Dehalococcoides strains 2) Order of magnitude improvement in resolution in distinguishing strains 3) More robust against error 4) Increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness of bioremediation

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