Advisor(s)

Gail Begley

Abstract

Bioremediation is the process by which naturally occurring bacteria are utilized to break down harmful contaminants in the environment. A groundwater site in southeastern Massachusetts has been contaminated with vinyl chloride, a particularly dangerous groundwater contaminant that is toxic and carcinogenic to humans. The research presented in this study suggests the possibility that this site contains bacteria previously unknown to degrade vinyl chloride, possibly due to the oxygen and ethene biostimulation in use at the contaminated site. Also, sequence data suggests that there are multiple novel bacteria in an enrichment culture developed from the contaminated groundwater. The results may be indicative that the ability to degrade vinyl chloride is actually quite widespread. This is an encouraging finding in the ongoing attempts to clean up vinyl chloride contaminated waste sites.

Date Accepted

5-1-2008

Publication Date

12-14-2007

Keywords

bioremediation, vinyl chloride, phylogenetic analysis

Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Rights Holder

Michael Trautwein

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