The effects of trichloroethylene contamination on bacterial community composition along Four Mile Creek on the Savannah River Site
Richardson, Elizabeth Ann
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Trichloroethylene is a contaminant at C-area on the Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC. Indigenous soil bacteria are capable of metabolizing TCE present in the groundwater at C-area. TCE has a toxic effect on the bacteria resulting in selective changes in the bacterial community. This study endeavors to quantify those changes. Soil samples collected at the leading edge of the contaminant plume were analyzed for bacterial density, sole carbon source utilization, and the presence of methanotrophic bacteria. Geochemical data on the soil was obtained. Reference samples were similarly analyzed. The geochemical data revealed that the soils are not significantly different. The biological data revealed differences in the bacterial communities. The TCE contaminated soil had less diversity. The bacterial communities could also be distinguished by their carbohydrate substrate utilization. The data supports the hypothesis that the presence of TCE is affecting the bacterial community composition.