Demonstration of Metaproteomic and Metagenomic Technologies for Advanced Monitoring of Bioremediation Performance

Oral Presentation

Prepared by K. Kucharzyk, C. Bartling, D. Stoeckel, L. Mullins, H. Rectanus
Battelle Memorial Institute, 505 King Avenue, Columbus, OH, 43201, United States

Contact Information:; 614-424-5489


The DoD has over 26,000 contaminated groundwater sites with over 25% of the remedies-in-place using enhanced in situ bioremediation (ISB) and over 50% of remedies using monitored natural attenuation (MNA) as a polishing step. As groundwater remedies-in-place move towards asymptotic mass removal, a transition from costly active remediation to passive MNA is desired. Transition from an active groundwater remedy to MNA typically requires long-term monitoring of a wide range of chemical, geochemical, and microbial parameters to clearly prove that natural attenuation is occurring and/or progressing as expected. The data required to document MNA are costly to collect. Thus, monitoring technologies that can directly and instantaneously confirm active contaminant degradation could provide compelling support for transitioning from active cleanup to MNA. New advanced molecular tools such as proteomics have a great potential to provide important information, which can be used to document the natural attenuation of munition constituents (Royal Demolition Explosive (RDX)) or chlorinated volatile organic contaminants (CVOCs) and/or to design more effective bioremediation strategies to accelerate their rate of biotransformation under anaerobic conditions (via co-metabolic processes) or under aerobic conditions (via bioaugmentation).

Here, we propose a protein-based approach that offers a viable alternative for quantifying rates of natural attenuation or in situ bioremediation (under varying redox conditions). Quantification of protein levels provides the advantage of direct correlation of bioremediation activity since gene copy numbers and transcript levels do not necessary correlate with protein levels of the target gene. The primary results identify a variety of peptides that may serve as biomarkers of RDX/ CVOCs degradation. The proteomic approach has the potential to provide a wealth of new information regarding the microbial community structure, as well as protein function and activities within the subsurface.