Technical Discussion - Water
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
Aquatic systems stressed by unnatural water cycling, nutrient spikes, and altered shoreline and riparian habitat have a reduced capacity to decompose organic matter, cycle nutrients, and maintain the water quality required to harbour a healthy aquatic ecosystem. By increasing or boosting the populations of naturally occurring bacteria, the cycling of nutrients and the rate of organic decomposition can once again be regained, while other avenues are pursued to remediate the causes of stress upon the aquatic system.
Compared to other bacterial products, AAG’s bio-products have a much higher cell count per gallon (700 billion) and incorporate a patented incubation process to enhance the growth rate of the nitrifiers. PondPerfect, EcoBac, and the EcoSocks utilize nutrients in the water, convert carbon compounds (sludge) to C02; denitrification occurs under anaerobic conditions (NO3 to N02, to N2), and nitrification occurs under aerobic conditions (NH3 to N02 to N03). This cycle is boosted with the use of AAG’s bio-products. The result is a reduction in sludge levels and nutrients that are available for algae and other aquatic plant growth.
When a lake has significant organic sediment, this creates an anaerobic environment that is conducive to pathogen growth. As our approach slowly digests organic sediment, there is a sequential process that occurs:
Digestion of sludge
Release of soluble organics and nutrients
Uptake of nutrients
Mineralization of nutrients (conversion of nutrients to CO2 and water)
Achievement of a new level of “average water quality”
New short term homeostasis of microorganisms with respect to the improved water quality
Nitrifying bacteria consume inorganic N and C for cell growth, and they also use P as part of their reproduction process. As such, they compete with algae for these nutrients. Nitrifying bacteria are at a disadvantage relative to algae for these reasons:
Nitrifying bacteria have long growth periods compared to other bacteria and are therefore prone to washout or loss in a competitive population with algae due to slow reproduction rate
Sunlight increase algal growth rate, while it reduces the rate of nitrifier reproduction
The presence of benthic microalgae is proven to suppress activity of both nitrifiers and denitrifiers, thus the need for supplementation during periods of excess algae growth.
AAG has particular capabilities in manufacturing extremely concentrated liquid solutions of live nitrifying bacteria with a long shelf life while in the bottle (greater than two years at room temperature). The nitrifying products supplement the ponds with nitrifiers and denitrifiers, which are known to be depressed by algal blooms (along with naturally slow growth kinetics and susceptibility to UV light).
Several species of bacteria in the various formulations are capable of denitrification, as are many of the microorganisms found naturally in any lake. However, denitrification required all of the following to proceed at a rapid rate:
Bacteria capable of denitrification
Low Dissolved Oxygen conditions
Presence of nitrate
Presence of soluble organic compounds
With the enhanced sludge solubilization, the soluble organic compounds required in order for denitrification to proceed are present. Without AAG’s slow rate solubilization, denitrification would not occur at an optimal rate, and denitrification would slow or come to a halt, thus increasing the rate of algal growth. Our approach allows denitrification to occur at an optimal rapid rate, thus removing a fraction of N from algal metabolism.
All three of these modes of action (sludge digestion, nitrification, and denitrification) are part of the AAG pond or lake treatment processes.
Enhanced Organic Sludge Solubilization and Digestion
In order to enter bacteria, organic material must be soluble and low molecular weight.
The bacterial cell wall excludes colloidal and particulate material from entering the cell interior, thus organic material must be solubilized in order to become a bacterial food source. Colloidal and particulate organic material is NOT bioavailable to the bacterial cell.
Many species of bacteria and fungi produce extracellular enzymes (protease, amylase, lipase, cellulase, etc) that hydrolyze (solubilized) colloidal and particulate organic material so that it becomes bioavailable and can pass the bacterial cell wall.
In general, these extracellular (exo) enzymes are produced in the stationary or death phase of the culture. At those times, soluble organic food is not available, and the production of exoenzymes has the survival benefit of creating bioavailable nutrients from unavailable sources (colloids and particulates).
However, exoenzymes are expensive for the bacterial cell to manufacture, as they are all complex proteins that require the expenditure of material and energy by the cell in the manufacturing process. When bacteria are actively producing exoenzymes, by definition, their reproductive rate slows dramatically.
In the mixed population dynamics, bacteria that are producing exoenzymes are rapidly overwhelmed in numbers by bacteria that are simply consuming the newly bioavailable organic substrate.
Therefore, in any aquatic system, the numbers of bacteria that are effective at producing exoenzymes is low relative to those bacteria that simply consume soluble substrate.
AAG's products include large numbers of bacteria capable of high rate exoenzyme production. Adding the product in the ready to use form increases sludge digestion. As this occurs, any bacteria already present in the lake rapidly consume the bioavailable organic substrate that is releaseD from sludge hydrolysis.
When applying AAG’s bio-products to a lake or pond, the earliest benefit is diminished odor, which results from decreased sulfide presence and is attributable to three factors:
Reduction of nitrogen (which suppresses action of desulfovibrio)
Elimination of desulfovibrio’s preferred habitat
Patented process for digesting sludge
Bio-Remediation and Water Quality
Bio-remediation is defined as any process that uses plants or microorganisms (bacteria, fungi) or their enzymes to return the natural environment altered by contaminants to its original condition. Bio-remediation is a natural process used to reduce, sequester, or eliminate:
Suspended organic matter
Soluble inorganic compounds like nitrates
Settled organic solids and organic sludge
Regarding improved lake clarity (reducing excess algae blooms), AAG unequivocally states that none of the ingredients are toxic in any way to algae, or to any life form. All of our bacteria are present to some extent in any aquatic system. AAG simply adds more of these bacteria to a given site, or prepare those bacteria for activity at that site using the aerated mix tank, which for a limited time, provides those bacteria with an enhanced ability to compete with algae for N, P, and C nutrients.