In the present study, cometabolic TCE degradation was evaluated using NH(4)-N as the growth-substrate. At initial TCE concentrations up to 845 mu g/L, WE degradation followed first-order kinetics. The increase in ammonium utilization rate favored the degradation of TCE. This ensured that biological transformation of TCE in nitrifying systems is accomplished through a cometabolic pathway by the catalysis of non-specific ammonia oxygenase enzyme of nitrifiers. The transformation yield (T(y)) of TCE, the amount of TCE degraded per unit mass of NH(4)-N, strongly depended on the initial NH(4)-N and TCE concentrations. In order to allow a rough estimation of TCE removal and nitrification at different influent TCE and NH(4)-N concentrations, a linear relationship was developed between 1/T(y) and the initial NH(4)-N/TCE ratio. The estimated T(y) values lead to the conclusion that nitrifying systems are promising candidates for biological removal of TCE through cometabolism. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.