A 16S-rDNA-based molecular study was performed to determine the bacterial diversity of an anaerobic, 1,2-dichloropropane-dechlorinating bioreactor consortium derived from sediment of the River Saale, Germany. Total community DNA was extracted and bacterial 16S rRNA genes were subsequently amplified using conserved primers. A clone library was constructed and analysed by sequencing the 16S rDNA inserts of randomly chosen clones followed by dot blot hybridization with labelled polynucleotide probes. The phylogenetic analysis revealed significant sequence similarities of several as yet uncultured bacterial species in the bioreactor to those found in other reductively dechlorinating freshwater consortia. In contrast, no close relationship was obtained with as yet uncultured bacteria found in reductively dechlorinating consortia derived from marine habitats. One rDNA clone showed >97% sequence similarity to Dehalobacter species, known for reductive dechlorination of tri- and tetrachloroethene. These results suggest that reductive dechlorination in microbial freshwater habitats depends upon a specific bacterial community structure.


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