Pseudomonas sp. strain B13 FR1(pFRC20P) is a genetically engineered microorganism (GEM) which is able to degrade chloro- and methylaromatics through a constructed ortho cleavage pathway. The fate of the GEM and its ability to degrade substituted aromatic compounds in two different aquatic sediments was investigated by using a microcosm system which consisted of intact layered sediment cores with an overlying water column. The GEM survived in Lake Plussee and in Rhine river sediments at densities of approximately 10(5) bacteria per g (dry weight) (1 to 5% of the total CFU) throughout a 4-week period of investigation. According to several criteria, the microcosm system was stable and healthy throughout the experiment and the addition of the GEM did not affect the total number of extractable CFU (I. Wagner-Döbler, R. Pipke, K. N. Timmis, and D. F. Dwyer, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 58:1249-1258, 1992). When compared with uninoculated controls, the presence of the GEM enhanced the rate of degradation of a mixture of 3-chlorobenzoate and 4-methylbenzoate (25 microns each) which had been added to the water column of the sediment cores.