Multi-elemental C-Br-Cl compound-specific isotope analysis was applied for characterizing abiotic and biotic degradation of the environmental pollutant 1-bromo-2-chloroethane (BCE). Isotope effects were determined in the model processes following hydrolytic dehalogenation and dihaloelimination pathways as well as in a microcosm experiment by the microbial culture from the contaminated site. Hydrolytic dehalogenation of BCE under alkaline conditions and by DhaA enzyme resulted in similar dual isotope slopes (ɅC/Br 21.9 ± 4.7 and 19.4 ± 1.8, respectively, and ɅC/Cl ~ ∞). BCE transformation by cyanocobalamin (B12) and by Sulfurospirillum multivorans followed dihaloelimination and was accompanied by identical, within the uncertainty range, dual isotope slopes (ɅC/Br 8.4 ± 1.7 and 7.9 ± 4.2, respectively, and ɅC/Cl 2.4 ± 0.3 and 1.5 ± 0.6, respectively). Changes over time in the isotope composition of BCE from the contaminated groundwater showed only a slight variation in δ13C values and were not sufficient for the elucidation of the BCE degradation pathway in situ. However, an anaerobic microcosm experiment with the enrichment cultures from the contaminated groundwater presented dual isotope slopes similar to the hydrolytic pathway, suggesting that the potential for BCE degradation in situ by the hydrolytic dehalogenation pathway exists in the contaminated site.
Keywords: CSIA; Dihaloelimination; Dual isotope trends; Hydrolytic debromination.