Grup MAiMA, Mineralogia Aplicada, Geoquímica i Geomicrobiologia, Departament de Mineralogia, Petrologia i Geologia Aplicada, Facultat de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Martí Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain; Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), CSIC, Hydrogeology Group (UPC-CSIC), Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]
Chlorinated ethanes are frequent groundwater contaminants but compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) has been scarcely applied to investigate their degradation pathways. In this study, dual carbon and chlorine isotope fractionation was used to investigate for the first time the anoxic biodegradation of 1,1,2-trichloroethane (1,1,2-TCA) using a Dehalogenimonas-containing culture. The isotopic fractionation values obtained for the biodegradation of 1,1,2-TCA were ɛC = -6.9 ± 0.4‰ and ɛCl = -2.7 ± 0.3‰. The detection of vinyl chloride (VC) as unique byproduct and a closed carbon isotopic mass balance corroborated that dichloroelimination was the degradation pathway used by this strain. Combining the values of δ13C and δ37Cl resulted in a dual element C-Cl isotope slope of Λ = 2.5 ± 0.2‰. Investigation of the apparent kinetic isotope effects (AKIEs) expected for cleavage of a CCl bond showed an important masking of the intrinsic isotope fractionation. Theoretical calculation of Λ suggested that dichloroelimination of 1,1,2-TCA was taking place via simultaneous cleavage of two CCl bonds (concerted reaction mechanism). The isotope data obtained in this study can be useful to monitor natural attenuation of 1,1,2-TCA via dichloroelimination and provide insights into the source and fate of VC in contaminated groundwaters.