The biodegradation of chloroallyl alcohols by pure and mixed bacterial cultures was investigated. Only 2-chloroallyl alcohol and cis- and trans-3-chloroallyl alcohol served as growth substrate for pure cultures. The other chloroallyl alcohols could be cometabolically degraded during growth on 2-chloroallyl alcohol. Cometabolic degradation of trichloroallyl alcohol, which was the most recalcitrant congener, by a Pseudomonas strain isolated on 2-chloroallyl alcohol resulted in 60% dechlorination. Efficient degradation of a mixture of chloroallyl alcohols in continuous culture could only be achieved in the presence of a satellite population. The mixed culture degraded 99% of the total chloroallyl alcohols added with 71% chloride release. The culture contained strains with a new catabolic potential. The results indicate the importance of mixed cultures and genetic adaptation for efficient chloroallyl alcohol removal.