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How 'bugs' actually work

An overview, in layman’s terms, by ‘The Bug Doctor’.

Bacterial products contain a mixture of bacilli and pseudomonas grown on bran. We call the bran the carrier, because it 'carries' the bacteria. Bacteria are too small to be packaged by themselves. To this, we add a bio-enhancer, which is food for the bacteria, and micro-nutrients – trace elements that make the bugs stronger and more resilient. Our products contain 14 different strains of bacteria.

Bacilli are simple spores. They are good for degrading Fats, Oils and Greases (FOG) and human waste (which is usually referred to as municipal sewage). Bacilli are slow to multiply. This means that they can perform badly in a TVC (Total Viable Count – a quick test of the number of bacteria in a product). They really need to be incubated for 72 hours+ and tested in a proper lab.

Pseudomonas are vegetative cells. They are more sophisticated and are the bugs for degrading complex compounds – such as hydrocarbons. (Bacteria are great for cleaning up oil spills). Pseudomonas have complex nutritional requirements, which is why we add bio-enhancers and micro-nutrients.

So, for example, our B350 Chemical Waste Treatment (that biodegrades mechanical oils and fuels) will have more strains of pseudomonas than bacilli. On the other hand, B500 Fixed Film Systems Treatment and B220 High Grease Treatment will have more strains of bacilli than pseudomonas. In addition, and to make sure that we give them every chance, our bugs are 'hardened' to resist organic inhibitors such as domestic disinfectants and loo cleaners.

The bacteria produce enzymes that treat the contaminants in the wastewater as food and convert it ultimately into natural gasses (such as CO2) and H2O, plus a minute percentage of inorganic radicals – like iron and sulphur. When their food/contamination is all gone, the bacteria die and become organic matter. So, using bacteria is totally natural, organic and non-polluting. It's important to remember that any Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) or other Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) is basically just a place where bacteria can live and grow to degrade our effluent into natural products.

The way we measure the extent of contamination in wastewater is by measuring the BOD and COD. The Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) measures how much oxygen is required by bacteria to completely degrade the contamination. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) measures how much oxygen is required for chemicals to completely degrade the contamination. So if wastewater has a high BOD or high COD, its mucky water! Using bacteria will reduce both BOD and COD. The other important measure is Total Suspended Solids (TSS). Obviously, the smaller the mass of solids that are suspended in the wastewater, the less it is contaminated, so we aim to reduce TSS. Because BIO-SYSTEMS products are blended to reduce the TSS and COD, we will reduce the foul odours, too. Good news for everyone!

BIO-SYSTEMS Corporation Ltd © R. Thomas September 2006

For an example of how BIO-SYSTEMS bugs work click on Removing oil from soil.

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