Bacterial cells adapting to a constant environment tend to accumulate mutations in portions of their genome that are not maintained by selection. This process has been observed in bacteria evolving under strong genetic drift, and especially in bacterial endosymbionts of insects. Here, we study this process in hypermutable Escherichia coli populations evolved through 250 single-cell bottlenecks on solid rich medium in a mutation accumulation experiment that emulates the evolution of bacterial endosymbionts. Using phenotype microarrays monitoring metabolic activity in 95 environments distinguished by their carbon sources, we observe how mutation accumulation has decreased the ability of cells to metabolize most carbon sources. We study if the chaperonin GroEL, which is naturally overproduced in bacterial endosymbionts, can ameliorate the process of metabolic erosion, because of its known ability to buffer destabilizing mutations in metabolic enzymes. Our results indicate that GroEL can slow down the negative phenotypic consequences of genome decay in some environments.