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Biologically mediated abiotic degradation of chlorinated ethenes

We are investigating biologically mediated abiotic degradation (BMAD) of tetrachloroethene PCE and trichloroethene TCE.

Project leader

Dr Anke Neumann



Project staff

James Entwistle (PhD studentship)


Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) of the US Department of Defence

Department of Energy

US Environmental Protection Agency


University of Iowa, USA (Lead)

Geosyntec Consultants, USA


We are applying a new conceptual framework based on solid-state mineral chemistry. We are developing our understanding of BMAD of the persistent chlorinated solvents PCE and TCE. We are investigating BMAD of PCE and TCE by magnetite, Fe sulfides and Fe-bearing clay minerals.

We are carrying out laboratory-based experiments with synthesized pure minerals. We are also using sediment from contaminated sites. At Newcastle, we focus on the role of clay minerals and clay mineral iron reactivity for chlorinated solvent degradation.

The project won the SERDP 2018 Project of the Year Award for Environmental Restoration.