Eight homoacetogenic strains of the genera Acetobacterium, Clostridium and Sporomusa were tested for their ability to dechlorinate tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethene, PCE). Of the organisms tested only Sporomusa ovata was able to reductively dechlorinate PCE with methanol as an electron donor. Resting cells of S. ovata reductively dechlorinated PCE at a rate of 9.8 nmol h-1 (mg protein)-1 to trichloroethylene (TCE) as the sole product. The dechlorination activity depended on concomitant acetogenesis from methanol and CO2. Cell-free extracts of S. ovata, Clostridium formicoaceticum, Acetobacterium woodii, and the methanogenic bacterium Methanolobus tindarius transformed PCE to TCE with Ti(III) or carbon monoxide as electron donors. Corrinoids were shown in S. ovata to be involved in the dechlorination reaction of PCE to TCE as evident from the reversible inhibition with propyl iodide. Rates of dechlorination followed a pseudo-first-order kinetic.