Enhanced anaerobic biotransformation of carbon tetrachloride with precursors of vitamin B12 biosynthesis

Claudia Guerrero-Barajas, Jim A. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Relatively low concentrations of Vitamin B12 are known to accelerate the anaerobic biotransformation of carbon tetrachloride (CT) and chloroform (CF). However, the addition of vitamin B12 for field-scale bioremediation is expected to be costly. The present study considered a strategy to generate vitamin B12 by addition of biosynthetic precursors. One of the precursors, porphobilinogen (PB) involved in the formation of the corrin ring, significantly increased the CT biotransformation rates by 2.7-, 8.8- and 10.9-fold when supplemented at 160, 500 and 900 μM, respectively. A positive control with 10 μM of vitamin B12 resulted in a 5.9-fold increase in the CT-bioconversion rate. PB additions provided high molar yields of inorganic chloride (57% of CT organochlorine), comparable to that obtained with vitamin B12 supplemented cultures. The primary substrate, methanol, known to induce vitamin B12 production in methanogens and acetogens, was required for PB to have a significant impact on CT conversion. The observation suggests that PB's role was due to stimulating vitamin B12 biosynthesis. The present study therefore provides insights on how to achieve vitamin B12 enhanced rates of CT bioremediation through the use of less complex compounds that are precursors of vitamin B12. Although PB is a costly chemical, its large impact points to corrin ring formation as the rate-limiting step.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Biodegradation
  • Chloromethanes
  • Cobalamin
  • Corrinoid
  • Dechlorination
  • Halomethanes
  • Reductive dehalogenation
  • Tetrachloromethane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Microbiology
  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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