No microorganisms could be isolated from chemostats or from a soil column fed with 4,5-dichloroguaiacol as the only carbon source. If guaiacol was added to chemostats with 4,5-dichloroguaiacol, either soil microbial consortia or guaiacol-degrading bacteria could dechlorinate the 4,5-dichloroguaiacol provided it was <0.2 mm. A microbial consortium from farm soil removed 4,5-dichloroguaiacol under aerobic or anoxic conditions, with or without chlorolignin. Dichlorocatechol was the only 4,5-dichloroguaiacol-derived metabolite detected. In aerobic incubations, 4,5-dichlorocatechol was further degraded whereas under anoxic conditions it accumulated.