This Small BusinessI nnovationR esearch( SBIR) Phase1 project addressesth e developmento f a bacterial culture to degrade PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in contaminated soils and sediments. PCBs are persistent, toxic contaminants which accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals,c ontaminatingf ish and humans.P CB-degradingb acteriah ave beend ifficult to produce. In2009, a readily-grownb acterials peciesw as shownb y BioremediationC onsultingI nc (BCI) to degrade the most harmful and carcinogenic type of PCBs. This finding allows the development of an anaerobic PCB-degrading culture for cost-etfective inoculation into PCB-contaminated sediments. The proposed research will document the ability of BCI's culture to extensively dechlorinate three types of commercial PCB mixtures, and will develop methods of rapid culturing. The broader/commerciailm pactso f this researcha ret he developmento f a bacteriai noculantt hat will degrade PCBs in soil and sediment. PCBs are toxic chemicals used historically as heatresistant fluids in many industrial applications, including transformers in the electric utility industry. Several hundred million pounds were manufactured and disposed, resulting in contamination of soils and river sediments. The recent finding at BCI, that a strain of dechlorinating bacteria is capable of dechlorinating PCBs. provides an opportunity for BCI to develop a commercial culture for inoculating contaminated sites with PCB-degrading bacteria. The marketing of this product will be complementedb y our already-successfusl aleso f other dechlorinating cultures used in treatment of contamination by diverse chlorinated compounds. Major stakeholdersin the utility industries,a nd remediationc ontractors,h ave expressedin terest in partnering with BCI and/or obtaining culture.
Bioremediation Consulting Inc. Develops Bacterial Culture to Degrade PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) Contamination in Sediments and Groundwater, Supported by NSF Small Business Funding Bioremediation Consulting Inc. (BCI), funded by an NSF Small Business Innovation Research grant, has successfully developed a bacteria that can degrade the toxic environmental contaminants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs are toxic chemicals used historically as heat-resistant fluids in many industrial applications, including transformers in the electric utility industry. Several hundred million pounds were manufactured and disposed, resulting in contamination of groundwater and river sediments. PCBs are persistent, toxic, very insoluble, and bioaccumulate in the ecosystem, contaminating fish and aquatic wildlife. Of the millions of pounds of PCBs disposed, most remain untreated. Three decades after PCBs were banned in the U.S., there have been few advances in remediation of PCB-contaminated soils and sediments. Incineration, the established treatment, costs around $1000/ton, while less reliable physical/chemical treatments cost up to $500/ton. Thus, there is a need for a less expensive process, such as biological treatment using special bacteria to break down the PCB molecule. Currently, dredged sediments are piled for long-term storage. Until BCIâ€™s development of PCB-degrading bacteria, there was no commercial biotreatment of highly-chlorinated PCBs. BCI used its NSF funding to document that its culture could remove the chlorine atoms from dozens of related PCB molecules. BCI also developed a proprietary process to grow this bacteria quickly in liquid culture, so that it could be used to inoculate contaminated sites and dredged river sediments containing PCBs. The BCI bacteria are members of the genus Dehalococcoides, which has been shown by BCI and others to degrade related chlorinated contaminants such as the cleaning solvent perchloroethene (PCE). Major stakeholders in the utility industries and remediation contractors have expressed interest in partnering with BCI or obtaining culture. The marketing of this product will be complemented by our already-successful sales of other dechlorinating cultures used in treatment of contamination by diverse chlorinated compounds. BCI anticipates the creation of jobs for production of PCB-degrading bacterial cultures.