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FOR1530  > DehaloCon II  

A Conference on Anaerobic Biological Dehalogenation

Picture: Matthias Schmidt (UFZ Leipzig)

DehaloCon II Group Picture (top to bottom, left to right, correct me for mistakes and comment if you know question marks)

Johannes Büsing, Daniel Buchner, Martin Elsner, Masafumi Yohda, Simona Rossetti, Marco Rocca, Axel Horst, Ivonne Nijenhuis, Matt Lee, Thomas Kruse, Lorenz Adrian, Gary Sawers, Jun Yan, Nannan Jiang, Frank E Löffler, Jan Schwitalla, Evans Iyamu, Martin Sperfeld, Ernest Marco-Urrea, Steffen Kümmel, William M Moe, ??, Ute Lechner

Philipp Walter, Rohit Budhraja, Rachel Dean, Patrick Lohmann, Bruna Matturro, Snigdha ROY Barman, Hassan Al Fathi, Tobias Goris, Stefan Kruse, Benjamin Heckel, Marta Barbato, Christina Lihl, Torsten Schubert, Julien Maillard, Elizabeth Edwards, Stefan Schwoch, Myriel Cooper, Jiandong Jiang, Shanquan (Alan) Wang, Chen Chen, Steffi Franke

Nadia Morson, Hang Dam, Agnese Lai, Oliver Tiedt, Stéphane Vuilleumier, Nadya Krumova, Christof Holliger, Mathilde Willemin, Cindy Kunze, Louis Hermon, Bernhard Schink, Sebastian Keller, Fraser Collins, Kai Chen (?), Chang Ding, Zeev Ronen, Dominique Turkowsky, Katja Seidel

Shujuan Lian, Olivia Molenda, Mohammad numan ibne Asad, Andrea Nuzzo , Franziska Greiner-Haas, Catherine Drennan, Jens Esken, Gabriele Diekert, Marie Markantonis, Camelia Algora, Alba Trueba-Santiso, Samantha Gaytán, Marion Chevallier, Nuria Fonknechten, Yaqing Liu, Julian Renpenning

Not in this picture: Fraser Armstrong, Jan Birkigt, Matthias Boll, Sébastien Cecillon, Fatima El-Athman, Nico Jehmlich, Joana Karbe, Jochen A. Müller, Francis Owuna, Carsten Vogt, Langping Wu

DehaloCon II - The second public, international conference on Anaerobic Biological Dehalogenation

took place in Leipzig, Germany, from Sunday, March 26 to Wednesday, March 29, 2017



 Nearly 90 People from 4 continents and 13 countries presented or viewed and discussed 35 talks and 27 posters!




We are happy to announce DehaloCon II, the 2nd International Conference on Anaerobic Biological Dehalogenation, which will take place in one of the largest cities in the eastern part of Germany: Leipzig. The conference will span the whole field of anaerobic microbial dehalogenation of organohalides with a focus on the biochemistry and molecular aspects of organohalide respiration. DehaloCon II starts at Sunday, March 26 (afternoon) and ends Wednesday, March 29 (about noon). DehaloCon is made possible by the German Research Foundation, which finances the meeting and our Research Unit FOR 1530. The Research Unit FOR 1530 will end in 2017 and DehaloCon II will be the final meeting to present the work of international researchers on anaerobic biological dehalogenation and to show the main achievements of the DFG Research Unit FOR 1530.

Since we will provide a limited number of interested people a guided tour through the laboratories of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, we need your registration for the event. Just write me an e-mail until March 10. The guided tour will take place before the conference at Sunday, March 26, 3 pm. Start is in front of the Kubus (at the entrance of the UFZ, Permoserstrasse 15, Leipzig).

Information about talks and posters:

Talks should be not longer than 15 minutes and slides should be provided in any of the usual formats (powerpoint ppt/pptx or pdf is best). If you plan to bring your own laptop (not recommended since it takes more time) please inform me until March 23. A laptop with MS Powerpoint 2013 will be provided.

Posters should be in Din A0. Materials will be provided. Posters should be installed March 27 in the morning (ideal would be before 8:30 am!).

Flash poster presentations should be presented with MS Powerpoint exclusively and slides should be mailed to me by March 23. Presentation time is strictly 2 minutes! More than 2 slides will not be accepted.




Sunday, March 26 (Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research - UFZ Leipzig, Kubus)

3 - 4:30 pm: Optional - Guided Tour Through The Laboratories of the UFZ

5 - 7 pm: Introduction and Talk of Holger Weiss

Afterwards: Welcome Reception (Kubus, UFZ)


Monday, March 27 (Lecture Hall University of Leipzig, Seminar Building Augustusplatz)

8:30 - 11:30 am: Session Organohalide-Respiratory Chains, (Lorenz Adrian, Gary Sawers, Ute Lechner plus others, Flash poster presentations)

Lunch Break

12:40 - 2 pm: Poster Session (Foyer Seminar Building Augustusplatz)

2 - 5 pm: Structure Function Relationships of B12-containing Enzymes (Fraser Armstrong; Catherine Drennan plus others)

6 - 11:30 pm: Social Activity, Dinner at Zoo Leipzig/Gondwanaland


Tuesday, March 28 (Lecture Hall University of Leipzig, Seminar Building Augustusplatz)

9 - 12 am: (Talk of Jiandong Jiang plus others, Flash Poster Presentations)

Lunch Break

1:30 - 3:30 pm: Social Program - Leipzig City Walks and Presentation

3:40 - 5 pm: Poster Session (Foyer Seminar Building Augustusplatz)

5 - 7 pm: Session Omics of Organohalide-respiring Bacteria (Talk of Sebastian Cecillon and others)


Wednesday, March 29 (Lecture Hall University of Leipzig, Seminar Building Augustusplatz)

9am - 1 pm Session Ecology/Ecophysiology and Applied aspects (Talks of Simona Rossetti, Ivonne Nijenhuis, Martin Elsner plus others)

Closing Remarks



- Organohalide-Respiratory Chains: They make up the heart of most anaerobic reductive dehalogenation processe. How are electrons transferred through the electron transfer chain, which components are part of the respiratory chains and how do they differ from and what are similarities to  e.g. nitrate respiratory chains? How are components of the respiratory chain regulated and which maturation processes are involved?

- Enzymology and Structure-Function Relationships of B12-containing Enzymes: During the last DehaloCon, two reductive dehalogenase structures were revealed, followed shortly after by one article in Nature and one in Science. This session will not only further insights into reductive dehalogenase function, structure and enzymology, but also compare them with other B12-containing enzymes. 

- Ecophysiology and Applied Aspects of Reductive Dehalogenation: Anaerobic reductive dehalogenation is a process playing important roles in ecosystems, also because of the degradation of harmful substances. In this session, science at the border of ecophysiology (which organisms mediate dehalogenation and how?) and the application of OHRB, e.g. bioremediation will be presented. Additionally methods to investigate anaerobic reductive dehalogenation in the natural environment will be presented.

- Non-respiratory Reductive Dehalogenation: During the last five years, two different reductive dehalogenation processes were revealed, which are not coupled to respiratory energy conservation: cytoplasmic reductive dehalogenases and Halobenzoate CoA reductases play a role in certain anaerobically dehalogenating Proteobacteria and all the surrounding aspects will be discussed in this session.

- Omics and Meta'omics of OHRB: The publication of several genomes of organohalide-respiring bacteria (OHRB) set the basis for many of the following, functional scientific studies and today genomes of all groups of OHRB are available. Here, omics which go one step further will be presented: Metagenomes/proteomes of reductively dehalogenating communities, comparative genomics, transcriptomics (especially RNA-seq), proteomics which lead to further understanding of organohalide respiration.

Invited speakers are:

Fraser Armstrong (University of Oxford, UK)
Catherine Drennan (MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)
Jiandong Jiang (Nanjing Agricultural University, China)
Simona Rossetti (IRSA, Water Research Institute, Italy)
Holger Weiss (UFZ, Leipzig)
Martin Elsner (Helmholtz Zentrum München)
Sébastien Cecillon (Université de Lyon)

Additionally, the following members of the Research Unit FOR 1530 will present their topics:

Ute Lechner (University of Halle)
Lorenz Adrian (UFZ Leipzig)
Torsten Schubert (University of Jena)
Gary Sawers (University of Halle)
Ivonne Nijenhuis (UFZ Leipzig)


How to get to Leipzig?

As Leipzig Airport is served by only few international flights, arriving at Berlin (Schönefeld or Tegel are equally good for further travel) or Frankfurt airport is most convenient. From there, take the direct fast train (IC or ICE) to Leipzig is the most convenient travel possibility. Leipzig is located a bit more than one hour train south of Berlin and about four hours northeast of Frankfurt. Check Deutsche Bahn (this link) how and when to get to Leipzig Hbf (main station).



The opening of the conference on Sunday the 26th will take place at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), while the main scientific sessions will be held at the University of Leipzig in the city centre (Seminargebäude Augustusplatz). 


Augustusplatz is in walking distance (about ten minutes) from Leipzig Hbf. The UFZ is connected to the city centre and main station by tram 3 or 3E (stop Torgauer/ Permoserstrasse, approximately 15 minutes).


UFZ Leipzig



Augustusplatz, Leipzig - Picture: Andreas Schmidt




We recommend to stay in either Motel One Augustusplatz or Motel One Nikolaikirche. Both are decent, well-priced hotels, very conveniently located for the conference (less than five minutes walk to the seminar room building). Have a first glance at this link



The registration opens November 1st and ends on January 20th. Participants can register with an oral presentation (~15 minutes) or a poster presentation with an optional short flash poster presentation. Please note that we will charge a registration fee of 15 Euro. You will get an invoice and payment details per E-Mail about one to two weeks after registration.


As the Research Unit FOR 1530 will end in 2017 we want to reflect our work in a Special Themed Issue in FEMS Microbiology Ecology. Scientists working on Anaerobic Reductive Dehalogenation are welcome to publish their work in FEMS Microbiology Ecology, the deadline for appearing in the Special Issue will be shortly after the DehaloCon II.


For questions, mail




The research unit FOR 1530, financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG), was established in 2011 by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Diekert (Friedrich Schiller University Jena) as speaker and Dr. Lorenz Adrian (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig) as co-speaker.

8 working groups from 5 institutes comprise the 8 subprojects of this Research Unit

Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Gabriele Diekert (Organohalide respiratory chain of Sulfurospirillum multivorans)

Martin Luther University of Halle
Gary Sawers (Role of hydrogenases and formate dehydrogenase-like proteins in organohalide respiration of Dehalococcoides)
Ute Lechner (Regulation or organohalide respiration in Dehalococcoides)

Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) Leipzig
LorenzAdrian (Biochemistry of organohalide respiration in Dehalococcoides)
Ivonne Nijenhuis (Characterisation of anaerobic dehalogenation using specific stable isotope analysis)
Martin von Bergen (Proteome assessment of organohalide-respiring species)

University of Freiburg
Matthias Boll (Dehalogenation of halobenzoates via benzoyl CoA reductases)

University of Wageningen (Associated group)
Hauke Smidt (Functional genomics of Dehalobacter)


The DehaloCon is intended to reflect the work of the research unit conducted during the last three years, to discuss it with the international scientific community working on anaerobic dehalogenation, to strengthen established networks and to plan new joint activities. 

All this is made possible not just by the people involved, but especially by the financial support of the German Research Foundation (DFG – Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) which is gratefully acknowledged.



Flashback to DehaloCon I in Jena (March 23rd to 26th 2014).
The conference featured around 80 participants, presenting nearly 30 talks and 20 posters. 



7 topics were covered at DehaloCon I in Jena:

Besides the plenary talk of Stephen Zinder we present the following sessions and keynote speakers:

- Physiology and biochemistry of organohalide respiration: Which components participate in the respiratory chain of organohalide respiration and how do they work? Keynote speaker: Christof Holliger (École Polytechnique Lausanne, Switzerland)

- Enzymology and structure-function relationship of reductively dehalogenating enzymes: Reductive dehalogenases, corrinoid-containing iron-sulfur enzymes, are the key enzymes of organohalide respiration. What is the molecular basis of their catalysis? Other enzymes (i.e. benzoyl CoA reductases) perform reductive dehalogenation as well: What is the difference and are there similarities? Keynote speaker: Holger Dobbek(Humboldt University Berlin)

- Corrinoids: The complex cofactors of reductive dehalogenases. Corrinoids require a large maturation machinery and are of utter importance for the whole process of reductive dehalogenation. This is a session on maturation of corrinoids and the function and structure of them. Keynote speaker:  Jorge Escalante-Semerena (University of Georgia, Athens, USA)

- Regulation and gene expression of reductive dehalogenation: How is organohalide respiration/reductive dehalogenation regulated and which conditions are responsible for up/downregulation of the key enzymes involved? Keynote speaker: David Leys (University of Manchester, UK)

- Genes and genomes: Genomes were and are still the basis for investigation of reductive dehalogenation. What can we learn from current sequences and functional and comparative approaches, as well as from other 'omics? Keynote speaker: Alfred Spormann (Stanford University, California, USA)

- Ecophysiology of reductive dehalogenation: Where in the environment is reductive dechlorination performed - and by which bacteria in which consortia? Keynote speaker: Paige Novak (University of Minnesota, USA)

- Applied aspects of reductive dehalogenation: Is bioremediation and/or bioaugmentation with reductively dechlorinating bacteria feasible and how it is performed best? Keynote speaker: Giulio Zanaroli (University of Bologna, Italy)