Cobalamin and the native and diepimeric forms of factor F430 catalyzed the reductive dechlorination of 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) to ethylene or chloroethane (CA) in a buffer with Ti(III) citrate as the electron donor. Ethylene was the major product in the cobalamin-catalyzed transformation, and the ratio of ethylene to CA formed was 25:1. Native F430 and 12,13-di-epi-F430 produced ethylene and CA in ratios of about 2:1 and 1:1, respectively. Cobalamin dechlorinated 1,2-DCA much faster than did factor F430. Dechlorination rates by all three catalysts showed a distinct pH dependence, correlated in a linear manner with the catalyst concentration and doubled with a temperature increase of 10 degrees C. Crude and boiled cell extracts of Methanosarcina barkeri also dechlorinated 1,2-DCA to ethylene and CA with Ti(III) citrate as the reductant. The catalytic components in boiled extracts were heat and oxygen stable and had low molecular masses. Fractionation of boiled extracts by a hydrophobic interaction column revealed that part of the dechlorinating components had a hydrophilic and part had a hydrophobic character. These chemical properties of the dechlorinating components and spectral analysis of boiled extracts indicated that corrinoids or factor F430 was responsible for the dechlorinations. The ratios of 3:1 to 7:1 of ethylene and CA formed by cell extracts suggested that both cofactors were concomitantly active.