Reductive dechlorination of DDE to DDMU in marine sediment microcosms

Science. 1998 May 1;280(5364):722-4. doi: 10.1126/science.280.5364.722.


DDT is reductively dechlorinated to DDD and dehydrochlorinated to DDE; it has been thought that DDE is not degraded further in the environment. Laboratory experiments with DDE-containing marine sediments showed that DDE is dechlorinated to DDMU in both methanogenic and sulfidogenic microcosms and that DDD is dehydrochlorinated to DDMU three orders of magnitude more slowly. Thus, DDD does not appear to be an important precursor of the DDMU found in these sediments. These results imply that remediation decisions and risk assessments based on the recalcitrance of DDE in marine and estuarine sediments should be reevaluated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Bacteria, Anaerobic / metabolism
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Chlorine / metabolism
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / analysis
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / metabolism*
  • Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane / analysis
  • Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane / metabolism*
  • Euryarchaeota / metabolism
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology*


  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Chlorine
  • Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane