MSc thesis research topic for students enrolled in a university programme interested to work on the enrichment of anaerobic microorganisms capable of contaminant degradation and the characterisation of degradation applying compound-specific stable isotope analysis.
Brominated organic substances are widely used as e.g. brominated flame retardants, fumigants and pesticides. Although much is known about the biotransformation of chlorinated analogues, little is known about the degradation of brominated chemicals thus far. In our laboratory, we enriched microorganisms capable of the biotransformation of ethylene dibromide (EDB) under anoxic conditions. Furthermore, certain Dehalococcoides mccartyi strains can dehalogenate EDB, in addition to a variety of chlorinated compounds. The enrichments will be further characterized concerning their substrate specificity and stable isotope fractionation (C, Br, H) of EDB will provide additional information on the reaction.
The tasks of the planned research include:
• further enrichment of EDB degrading microorganisms
• degradation experiments with the strict anaerobic D. mccartyi strains and enrichments
• analysis of metabolites using GC-FID
• compound-specific stable isotope analysis (e.g. C, H, Br) of EDB during degradation