Chlorine occurs most frequently in microorganisms as chloride anions (Cl-). Increasingly, biogenic organochlorine compounds are being discovered (reviewed by Gribble, 2003), and the microbial catabolism of synthetic organochlorine compounds is continually being documented (reviewed by Van Pee et al, 2003). There was a large increase in the industrial synthesis and application of new organochlorine compounds in the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. Soil bacteria have adapted to the environmental presence of PCBs, dichloromethane and pentachlorophenol. In the case of the chlorinated herbicide atrazine, there is substantial evidence that enzymes have recently evolved to give soil bacteria new pathway(s) to catabolize the herbicide (Seffernick and Wackett, 2001). Some methylotrophic bacteria can use methyl chloride as a sole carbon and energy source (reviewed by McDonald et al, 2002), and some bacteria can use chlorate or perchlorate ions as terminal electron acceptors during anaerobic growth (Kengen et al, 1999).

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Adamson DT, Parkin GF. Product distribution during transformation of multiple contaminants by a high-rate, tetrachlorethene-dechlorinating enrichment culture. Biodegradation. 2001;12(5):337-48.

Jaspers CJ, Ewbank G, McCarthy AJ, Penninckx MJ. Successive rapid reductive dehalogenation and mineralization of pentachlorophenol by the indigenous microflora of farmyard manure compost. J Appl Microbiol. 2002;92(1):127-33.

McDonald IR, Warner KL, McAnulla C, Woodall CA, Oremland RS, Murrell JC. A review of bacterial methyl halide degradation: biochemistry, genetics, and molecular ecology. Environ. Microbiol. 2002;4:193-203.


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