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  • Switch to an Enzyme Disinfectant Powered by Nature

    Hygiene and cleanliness should go hand in hand, but adoption and follow-through with disinfection use within commercial facilities were not as consistent prior to the pandemic. Without the widespread threat of infection, cleaning was previously more focused on appearance than protecting public health and deemed not as important as it needs to be today. Consumers are and will demand a cleaner safe environment in which to travel or work, and this new emphasis, especially in places where there is either high traffic or the workplace. Now, business owners, facility managers and operators should learn even more about the effects of chemical agents against germs and the environment and reassure employees and clients by committing to a greener, safer controls and is a must in communicating this approach to everyone. Confidence and trust through cleanliness Throughout the last two years or so of uncertainty, many providers have faced the challenge of restoring trust and assuring employees and customers they’re doing everything they can to keep them safe and healthy. As time moves on, we all will expect places where they’re sure of safety and cleanliness and not just about appearance. Therefore, each facility must prioritize cleaning, disinfection, and prevention to give peace of mind and take the necessary steps to reassure everyone that this is the case. Research tells us that there is an increasing number of employees and customers that consider a company’s health and hygiene protocols extremely important in their decision making and now expect to see proof of the cleanliness and cleaning regimes. One such step is in the retracted use of chemical disinfection and a move towards safer, greener alternatives. The chemical alternative Enzymes are biocatalysts that speed up chemical reactions and break down complex molecules into simpler forms without undergoing any reaction themselves. This property of enzymes makes it useful for cleaning organic wastes in a variety of applications. The formulations thus prepared are called bio-enzymatic cleaners, enzymatic detergents, and disinfectants. As our lives become busier, more stressful, and increasingly demanding, it is only natural to reach for the latest items on the shelves that guarantee to make a cleaning regime simpler or safer. When evaluating the next purchase, do consider what is in that bottle of cleaner. Most of these products contain a harsh cocktail of chemical substances, which can be harmful to your wellbeing, that of your customers or cleaning staff. The cleaning section in a store or from a supplier is constantly loaded up with lines of cleansers, brightly planned with eye-catching packaging to stand out for buyers. They are advertised to assist us with comprehending the entirety of our cleaning essentially by simply applying a cupful of their solution. Before getting excited about the Quick-Fix discovery and purchasing an entire set of items, it is advised to discover what are the “ingredients” inside those containers. Ongoing research has discovered a large portion of these harsh chemical solutions contain destructive substances that can cause skin and eye irritation to those who are regularly in contact with them. To aggravate the situation, the chemical waste from these cleansers is frequently discharged into the environment and leads to damage to flora and fauna. And so, using environmentally friendly items becomes imperative not only for those that use them, but for the planet too. 1. A healthier working environment: Using green or environmentally friendly items shields from exposure to chemicals. No longer will there be chemical concoctions absorbed into the skin or taken in by the individual either doing the cleaning or working. This means you; your clients and your colleagues will no longer breathe in chemical build-ups left from the chemical disinfectant. Chemical disinfectant use can lead to irritated skin and eyes, a running nose, consistent coughing, trigger asthma, or other serious side effects. 2. Reducing the risks: There are consistent critical risks when dealing with traditional cleaning items that can conceivably lead to chemical burns to the eyes, and skin. Many users experience skin irritation after hand-washing garments with clothing cleansers, and they need to wear defensive garments so as to secure their skin, eyes, and nose. A typical complaint when using traditional cleaning items is the very strong chemical smell that can frequently trigger migraines for those who have a low resilience to strong-smelling substance. Now and then it is hard to remain or work in such a space since it is hard to breathe or becomes an irritant. While using eco-friendly cleaning items, you should not experience any of these dangers since they contain gentle ingredients that are safe to your skin or body. Green cleaners are not destructive and satisfy strict guidelines with regards to inhalation toxicity, combustibility, and skin absorption. No additional care is required while handling eco- friendly disinfectants. They are totally safe and environmentally friendly. So much so, that even after mopping the solution can be discharged in any drain with no adverse effects, actually due to the nature of enzymes they will keep working and clean the pipes too. 3. Cost-Effective: Traditional cleaning items are typically costly as a direct result of the various chemical compounds utilised in making them and their insufficient efficacy meaning that you have to purchase more to get the job done. The cost of eco-friendly disinfectants is substantially less due to the significant reduction in dilution ratios required to do a much superior job, reducing the amount of cleaning required and the time taken. A big plus is a reduction in inventory. All this leading to a saving on the bottom line. 4. Environmental Impact: Conventional cleaning products are ruinous to nature in various ways. For instance, the fumes that are discharged from commercial office cleaning taint the air through evaporation. This may lead to health issues for individuals that are in closed environments such as offices. Typical cleaning methods lead to the disposal and blend with water circuits, they pollute it and jeopardise the environment; therefore, changing to greener disinfectants lessens contamination to our surroundings. At the point when the use of green products becomes the norm, more organizations are compelled to follow environmentally-friendly guidelines to deliver green policies such as the health and wellbeing of employees and customers. 5. Antibacterial: Do you truly need to search for items that state “antibacterial”? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that washing with antibacterial cleansers is not any more superior to ordinary cleansers, while the American Medical Association (AMA) says the successive utilisation of antibacterial ingredients can elevate bacterial resistance to antibiotics Triclosan, a typical antibacterial specialist found in numerous cleansers, which [may] meddle with your hormonal system and thyroid. As worries for wellbeing become progressively common and individuals become increasingly mindful of the harsh impacts cleaning chemicals have, they are returning to the basics and searching for greener approaches to cleaning. Enzymatic Disinfectants Enzymatic formulations speed up the breakdown of organic wastes also referred to as ‘soils’ into smaller particles at a much lower temperature and a neutral pH ranging from 6 to 8. These formulations contain different types of enzymes, notable among them proteases, lipases, and amylases. Enzymatic formulations clean and disinfect a wide array of applications whilst providing safe and effective solutions. Given below are some of the important enzymes used for these purposes. a. Protease Protease enzymes help break down hard-to-clean organic proteins like bodily wastes, mucus, egg, and stains such as wine, coffee, and other beverages. They break down these complex particles into smaller ones that are water-soluble and easier to clean. Protease formulations are used to clean and disinfect utensils, surgical instruments, and hard-to-clean objects like carpets and drapes. b. Amylase The amylase family of enzymes work on starchy substances like gravies, sauces, egg stains, and sugars. These are used for cleaning and disinfecting utensils and furniture of fast-food outlets and restaurants. c. Lipase Lipase enzymes hydrolyze and break down water-insoluble fatty deposits like lipids, oils, and grease. These are broken down into smaller particles that are water-soluble and make it easier to clean, such as range hood filters. Enzymatic Disinfectants - Different Uses Enzymatic disinfectants are used for surface disinfection, restroom & bathroom cleaning, carpets and as disinfectants in toilets and many other surfaces where there is a potential risk of germ build up (Public transport, schools, offices) etc. Given below are some of the uses of enzymatic disinfectants. 1. Drain cleaning Enzymatic disinfectants and cleaners break down oils, greases, and other organic materials and thus clean and unclog drains, pipes, and traps. 2. Urine and Uric Acid Stains and Odors Enzymatic disinfectants clean and help remove urine spots and foul odours from restrooms. 3. Carpet Cleaning and Disinfection Enzymatic formulations are used for carpet cleaning and disinfection as they can easily penetrate soft surfaces. Enzymes near-neutral pH does not discolour, fade, or damage soft surfaces thus ensuring that carpets are safely cleaned. 4. Floors and Walls Enzymes work on a wide variety of surfaces. Most chemical cleaners state they are not suitable for certain floor types, this is not the case for enzyme-based cleaners. 5. Livestock storage Enzyme disinfection is highly effective in the cleaning of livestock sheds or stables that ensure the animals remain safe and germ-free. 6. Food processing Enzymatic disinfectants clean and help remove the build-up of bacteria and biofilm whilst reducing wastewater contamination. Benefits of Using Enzymatic Disinfectants Enzymatic cleaners have several advantages and benefits if used in cleaning solutions. Some of these areas are listed below. a. Help in breaking down and removal of organic waste and soils at neutral pH and thus reducing bioburden and odour b. Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces and hard-to-reach areas like small cracks c. Effective disinfection, cleaning, and protection of delicate medical instruments and devices d. Used at lower temperatures and concentrations than chemical detergents. Can be stored and shipped in ergonomic and smaller packaging e. Environmentally sustainable and much safer to use than other chemical disinfectants f. Once applied, can work for up to 80 hours for effective and complete cleaning and disinfection Conclusion Enzymatic disinfectants are highly effective for cleaning virtually anything where germs are present and remove their ability to multiply leading to a safe environment for all. To know more about enzymatic disinfectants please contact us at: The organic enzymatic "stinky" range from Custom Enzymes - contact us for more information

  • Algal Blooms – What are they? Why should you care?

    Algal or Algae bloom A bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in fresh or marine water systems and is often recognized by the discoloration in the water from their pigments such as red, blue-green and golden. The term algae encompass many types of aquatic photosynthetic organisms, both macroscopic, organisms like seaweed and microscopic, unicellular organisms like cyanobacteria. Algal bloom commonly refers to rapid growth of microscopic, unicellular algae that poses severe risk to aquatic, animal, and human life. Algal blooms are the result of a nutrient, like nitrogen or phosphorus from fertilizer runoff, entering the aquatic system and causing excessive growth of algae. An algal bloom affects the whole ecosystem. Consequences range from the benign feeding of higher trophic levels to more harmful effects like blocking sunlight from reaching other organisms, causing a depletion of oxygen levels in the water, and, depending on the organism, secreting toxins into the water. The process of the oversupply of nutrients leading to algae growth and oxygen depletion is called eutrophication. Blooms that can injure animals or the ecology are called "harmful algal blooms" (HAB), and can lead to fish die-offs, cities cutting off water to residents, or states having to close fisheries. HAB Harmful algal blooms (HABs), sometimes known as "red tide", occur when certain kinds of algae grow very quickly, forming patches, or "blooms", in the water. These blooms can emit powerful toxins which endanger human and animal health. The severity of an outbreak can also cause significant losses to coastal economies that rely on recreation, tourism, and seafood harvesting. An HAB contains organisms that can severely lower oxygen levels in natural waters. After the bloom dies, the microbes which decompose the dead algae use up even more of the oxygen, which can create further issues such as large quantities of dead fish known as “die off” or a “dead zone” where both fish and plants are destroyed. What are the causes? The presence of excessive nutrients in the water are a main cause of bloom formation. The two most common nutrients are nitrogen (nitrates, ammonia, urea) and phosphate. Overuse in agriculture, industry and domestic use are major contributors that can be related to flushing into the waterways or run off from heavy rain. According to many experts, there are links to climate change and the presence of warmer temperatures are playing a role in the size and frequency of formations. Among the causes of algal blooms are: · chemical wastes, primarily nutrients from fertilizers or human waste · warmer temperatures · thermal pollution from power plants and factories · low water levels in inland waterways and lakes, which reduces water flow and increases water temperatures. According to NOAA scientists, increased warmer weather can contribute to warmer waters which makes conditions more favourable for algae growth. Scientists in Australia have acknowledged that rising temperatures are also a key factor for algal blooms in the Southern hemisphere. However, in general, a reduction in water levels that can cause flows to drastically reduce or even stop lead to warmer conditions, combine that with excessive nutrients in the water increases the risk of harmful algal blooms. These nutrients enter freshwater or marine environments caused by an overloading of fertilizer from agricultural pollution or urban runoff from fertilized lawns, golf courses and other landscaped properties, this is enhanced when heavy rain cannot penetrate and be absorbed by the soils. In the U.S., surface runoff is the largest source of nutrients added to rivers and lakes, but is mostly unregulated, locally developed initiatives to reduce nutrient pollution are underway in various areas of the country. Other significant causes include waste from sewage treatment plants that lack nutrient control systems, as an example in Southern Europe and coastal developing countries, the sewage is discharged into the sea untreated. Worldwide coastal areas, especially wetlands and estuaries, coral reefs, and swamps, are prone to being overloaded with those nutrients causing large ecological and environmental problems. The effects can be devastating! As algal blooms grow, they can last from a few days to many months depleting the oxygen in the water and blocking sunlight from reaching fish and plants. With a reduction in light, plants beneath the bloom can die and fish can starve. When the algae die off and decomposes, even more oxygen is consumed, which in turn causes more fish to die or not be present at all. When oxygen continues to be depleted this leads to dead zones or the term hypoxia, where neither fish nor plants can survive. This phenomenon occurs in aquatic environments as dissolved oxygen leading to a reduced concentration to a point where it becomes detrimental to aquatic organisms. An aquatic system lacking dissolved oxygen at (0%) is termed anaerobic or anoxic; the range between 1 and 30% is called hypoxic. Most fish cannot live below 30% saturation. The negative impact on fish can be even more severe when bred in fish farms. A fish farm in British Columbia lost 260 tons of salmon and in 2016 a farm in Chile lost 23 million salmon after an algal bloom. Generally, algae do not usually pose a direct threat to health, however, the toxins which they produce when ingested are considered dangerous to humans, land animals, sea mammals, birds, and fish. These neurotoxins can destroy nerve tissue which can affect the nervous system, brain, and liver, and ultimately lead to death. Tests have also shown that some toxins can be suspended in the air near beaches, it is important to understand that inhaling vapours from waves or wind during a bloom may cause asthma attacks or lead to other respiratory ailments, particularly those with allergies such as asthma. Eating shellfish Research has shown that algal toxins may be the cause for as many as 60,000 cases in the world each year when consuming fish or shellfish that have been sourced from water with the presence of a bloom. An accumulation of potent toxins in shellfish that feed on the algae and then later consumed by humans may result in various types of poisoning, the four most recognized are: Amnesic, Diarrhetic, Neurotoxic and Paralytic. Environmental concerns Harmful algal blooms are increasing throughout the world and it is suggested that global warming and excessive pollution are major contributors in their build up. Research has uncovered some dramatic findings on the presence of blooms in places thought it could not be possible such as the Arctic and Antarctic circles and to the mountains of the Himalayas and Rockies. More worrying is the growth of these HABs across some of the largest lakes on the planet across Europe, Africa, and Australia. Chemical farming practices are one of the major contributors in the development of algae blooms. The demand for and overuse of fertilizers are much to blame on so many levels. Two main components of fertilizers are: Phosphorous Organophosphorus compounds are used for their toxicity as pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Nitrogen Negatively affects ground and surface waters, pollutes the atmosphere, and degrades soil health. When applied, not all the product is taken by the crop and is more than likely to be contained in run off due to its solubility. High doses leaching into waters contribute to groundwater pollution. Fact not fiction A recent forecast of the size of the "Dead Zone" in the northern Gulf of Mexico for late July 2019 is that it will cover 8,717-square-miles of the bottom of the continental shelf off Louisiana and Texas. The low oxygen conditions in the gulf's most productive waters stresses organisms and may even cause their death, threatening living resources, including fish, shrimp and crabs caught there. Low oxygen conditions started to appear 50 years ago when agricultural practices intensified in the Midwest. No reductions in the nitrate loading from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico have occurred in the last few decades. Source Louisiana State University Current methods of control A severe global challenge in controlling the spread of Cyanobacteria especially, for oceans, lakes, reservoirs, and larger ponds. Some control methods are not environmentally safe, for example, Algaecides. Other methods like aeration or ultrasound, are quite expensive. Current algae control options that are commonly used include: Chemicals Aeration Mixing Ultrasound The pro’s and con’s Chemicals There are not any Pro’s. Aquatic herbicides used to treat algae are called algaecides and pose significant threats yet are widely used, especially in areas near drinking water storage such as dams. Mixing Pro’s - Artificial circulation causes less environmental damage than using chemicals. Con’s – Only effective in deep systems and can create further disturbance in the sediment that creates further nutrients to promote algal blooms. Aeration Oxygen helps break down the decaying vegetation and other nutrients in the water. Pro’s - Aeration systems can help avoid chemical use and create a healthy ecosystem and can be used for large ponds. Con’s - Aeration does not kill the algae directly, so it is not always efficient. Ultrasound Pro’s - Ultrasound is environmentally friendly and harmless to fish or plants. Con’s - Must be able to cover the entire surface of a lake and is very cost prohibitive. Not one of the above methods can effectively rid blooms without adding significant cost or chemicals in the process and are only designed for ground waterways. Our oceans are just as if not more important with no real solution. ALGAL BLOOM SOLUTION CUSTOM E ALGAE has been specially formulated utilizing the latest in biotechnology to eradicate HABs from ALL our waterways without the need for harsh and harmful chemicals. No longer does our ecosystem have to suffer from excessive pollution that causes our water to become toxic and dangerous. Example of lab test results show the effectiveness on algae degradation. by Steve Booton Subscribe to our website to find out more

  • Major Oceanographic Issues and Remediation Options.

    The global ocean is being increasingly exposed to great and sudden changes because of our growing global marine exploitation since the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution was kick-started after the discovery of coal in steam engines, which allowed the mass production of steam engines for working in factories, improving the efficiency, and decreasing costs of manufacturing goods. Very little was known on the devastating consequences of overusing fossil fuels such as coal and oil. In recent decades, the use of the same fossil fuels are the driving force of climate change and exponential growth in population, leading to direct impacts such as greater strain on natural resources or indirect impacts such as increased chances of oil spills. The direct impacts of climate change are most notable in the oceans and in particular coastal regions. The rise in temperatures lead to increased glacial melt, thermal expansion, and changes in metocean conditions. Each of these consequences can have devastating impacts on coastal settlements where 40% of the global population live within 100km of the shoreline. The indirect impacts of a growing population are the need to service a larger amount of wastewater (Chapter 1), and increased pressure on trading and transporting goods, increasing the chances of a shipping accident and devastating oil spills (Chapter 2). Each of these indirect impacts of the industrial revolution can cause severely negative environmental, social and health impacts. 1. Wastewater Wastewater is generated in households, industrial zones and agricultural zones. Each of these areas contributes to water pollution differently. Households contribute by adding human waste (excrement), and other non-organic waste (toilet paper, cotton buds, sanitary towels, etc.). Industrial zones waste can come in various forms, solid (concrete and scrap metals), liquids (oils and solvents) and semi-solids (sand and gravel). Areas of high agricultural output can contribute with pesticides and insecticides which can cause biological problems in water bodies. There are currently many places around the world experiencing various effects from different forms of water pollution. There are two forms of wastewater treatment currently in widespread usage. The first being aerobic and the second being anaerobic. For each of the methods the treatment can be split into primary treatment and secondary treatment. The primary treatment is used for waste material that will either float or fall to the bottom on their own or material which is too big to fit through the screens right at the start of the treatment process. Grit will also be removed in this treatment process by using a grit chamber. All the materials which are removed from the wastewater during this process are generally buried in the grounds of the wastewater treatment facility. The secondary treatment is where the different methodologies separate into aerobic and anaerobic wastewater treatment. Aerobic waste treatment is carried out in the presence of oxygen, as opposed to anaerobic which is not. Although the process for wastewater usage is very well known and works efficiently in more developed countries, with 74% of waste treated, less developed countries in the world only have an efficiency of 4.2% of wastewater treatment. Once these figures are realised it is easy to understand why waters around the African, Latin American, and Southeast Asian coastlines have the worst water quality. Each of these three regions show water quality to be >1000 faecal coliform concentration per 100ml of water. These high levels of severe water pollution are also measured over half the year. Still, in much of the economically developed world there are relatively high rates of wastewater pollution, often after storms. Several utilities companies discharge untreated effluent into rivers/oceans as opposed to allowing the sewage to back up into the plumbing infrastructure, which leads to floods in homes and on roads. In the less developed regions of the world the lack of wastewater treatment infrastructure means that human waste will either be stored in septic tanks, placed into a ditch, or disposed directly into a body of water. High levels of untreated effluent water, as well as waste, being directly dropped into the oceans will lead to catastrophic environmental effects ultimately creating negative social and economic outcomes. United Kingdom The United Kingdom is going through legislative reform, backed by several members of parliament. Multiple Utilities companies are discharging untreated effluent, which includes human waste, sanitary products, and wet wipes, into rivers and streams which heavily impact the environment downstream. Water companies including United Utilities, Yorkshire Water and Thames Water discharged untreated effluent water over 400,000 times accounting for 3 million hours in 2020 across locations throughout England. As a result of water companies discharging untreated effluent to 55% of rivers across England and Wales are polluted [1]. The excess amount of sewage being discharged causes rapid algal growth, leading to the rivers being starved of oxygen and further detrimental impacts on the remaining wildlife. In 2016, the River Trent in Staffordshire was so heavily polluted that it resulted in the death of an estimated 15,000 fish and could have been detrimental to human health if the sewage had reached a human water source. The spread of diseases like E-coli, diarrhoea and hepatitis A are easily spread within contaminated water [2]. India India is one of the fastest urbanising and developing countries with the second highest population (1.37 bn pop.) following closely behind China (1.4 bn pop.). India is estimated to have 40% of urbanised population in 2030 with a current value around 35% [3], causing a significant strain to water infrastructure. Indian cities did not have the capacity to host all the migrants coming in from rural areas over recent decades since the independence from the UK. This allowed the creation of unregulated and unplanned shanty towns throughout cities particularly in larger cities like Mumbai. India is one of the fastest urbanising and developing countries with the second highest population (1.37 bn pop.) following closely behind China (1.4 bn pop.). India is estimated to have 40% of urbanised population in 2030 with a current value around 35% [3], causing a significant strain to water infrastructure. Indian cities did not have the capacity to host all the migrants coming in from rural areas over recent decades since the independence from the UK. This allowed the creation of unregulated and unplanned shanty towns throughout cities particularly in larger cities like Mumbai. Daharavi, an area of Mumbai, built on mangrove swamplands, and is one of the most densely populated areas in the world with a population density of 277,136/km2. These regions of shanty towns have little to no sanitation, with the only form of waste removal often an uncovered ditch running by the side of the road. An estimated 70% of surface water is unsuitable for consumption and everyday 40 million litres of untreated wastewater enter various forms of water bodies. These figures are significantly impactful to economies downstream. Farmlands downstream from polluted water bodies experience 9% reduction in revenue and 16% decrease in crop yields [4]. Furthermore, the wastewater issue is detrimental to the health of Indian citizens. Thirty-eight million people suffer from waterborne diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis each year. For children under 5 causes, more deaths are caused by poor water quality than Aids, tuberculosis and measles combined [4]. As a result of poor water quality, the Indian economy suffers, resulting in a decrease in GDP and economic stagnation. Eighty Billion dollars is the cost of environmental degradation per year with an additional $9 billion per year in medical costs. Solutions Custom Enzymes have solutions for remediation of wastewater pollution in rivers as well as in wastewater treatment plants. Custom E PURE-AERO and Custom E PURE-ANAERO can be used in aerobic wastewater treatment plants and anaerobic wastewater treatment plants respectfully. These enzymes can cope with high quantities of organic material therefore improving the capacity of the system as well as increasing the efficiency. The wastewater will also be less odorous, making the area around the facilities kinder to humans and other wildlife. For the situation in the UK, where the capacity of wastewater plants causes the increased discharges of untreated effluent, the use of these enzymatic formulations the ability of the enzymes to work on higher number of organic waste will decrease the untreated effluent discharged into rivers and other water bodies. Custom E BIOALGAE is a control enzyme which aids in the remediation of environments affected by toxic algal blooms. In events of wastewater pollution increasing the nutrients needed for the rapid growth of algae this formulation will aid in biodegrading the product without affecting the environment and is active against gram positive and negative bacteria. Custom E BIOALGAE is water soluble and can be deployed by any form of sprayer system directly onto the affected area. 2. Oil Spills Oil has become the natural resource which is the most powerful at driving modern economies forward. Oil can boost a countries economy from being undeveloped to the forefront of technology, as is seen in the Middle East. Although oil can bring economic prosperity, it can also lead to wars where the political system of a country can be corrupted by foreign forces to secure lucrative oil deals. With such demand on oil, the infrastructure is incredibly well developed with supply chains carefully managed so as not to cause any conflicts for the supplier or end customer. This supply chain is also incredibly fragile with many trade routes passing through narrow straights, channels, and canals. As seen in March 2021, the Suez Canal was blocked by a container ship causing oil prices to increase in the western hemisphere [5]. Moving forward with the theme of shipping there are currently 98,140 ships in the world fleet accounting for 2,061,944 dead-weight tons (DWT) [6]. In relation to the DWT, oil tankers account for 29% of the total in 2020. In addition, oil tankers are the largest average vessels in the world’s oceans with the longest being the Knock Nevis (TT Seawise Giant). With a greater number of ships sailing the chances of oil spills happening might seem higher, but this has not been the case. International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) is a non-profit organization aiding in oil spill clean-up and compensation, they have been compiling oil spill statistics since the Torrey Canyon oil spill in 1968. The most recent statistics (2020) shows that the number of oil spills have decreased to an average of 6.3/annum in the last 10 years compared to an average of 78.8/annum. This shows great progress in safety standards, but the fact is that the formula is not perfect and there are still major oil spills happening every year such as the very recent Mauritius spill in 2020 and Sanchi, 2018 [7]. Another opportunity oil can leak is through pipelines, this can happen in the process of extraction or transportation to and from a refinery. The leaks in pipelines can occur over land or offshore and each cause different environmental and economic effects but either way, the ocean is the overall net loser. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the 20th April 2010 is the largest oil leak ever, around 8-31% larger than the largest oil leak previously [8]. Deepwater Horizon This catastrophe was caused by high-pressure methane from the well, which expanded into the marine riser and up to the drilling rig [9]. This gas ignited and caused an explosion that engulfed the entire rig with flames and smoke. The well which the rig was connected to was 4,993 ft below sea level and then extended a further 18,000 ft into the rock. The well was sealed off for future exploration, but the seal was designed incorrectly that it could not handle the pressure. Two days after the explosion, the oil rig capsized and sank. This is significant to the oil spill as the riser, which was injecting the well with drilling mud, ruptured. Without the drilling mud, there was no force to counteract the pressure caused by the oil and natural gas. The oil spill peaked at 60,000 barrels per day although BP claimed it was only around 1,000 barrels per day [10]. Secondly, a failsafe, which is designed to close the channel, malfunctioned. This mechanism is the rig’s blowout preventer (BOP) working to prevent the oil and/or gas from being released from the well. Devastatingly It was destroyed due to the immense pressure bending the pipe. BP attempted many methods of containment including a containment dome and drilling mud once again, but they were unsuccessful [11]. Around 2 months after the disaster an apparatus called the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) was deployed and allowed BP to siphon around 15,000 barrels a day into a tanker [8]. The success of the procedures mentioned above allowed the way for a bottom kill which permanently sealed the well by pumping cement through a parallel channel which eventually intersected the original well. This proved safe enough to be a permanent solution. Although the main well has been closed off there are still several smaller outlets where oil occasionally spills into the Gulf of Mexico, ultimately making this only a semi-permanent solution [12]. Mauritius On July 25th, 2020, MV Wakashio ran aground in the Southeast of the island of Mauritius. The ship was carrying around 4,000 tonnes of oil where over 1,000 tonnes had been spilled into the ocean [13]. This certain oil spill is not the largest oil spill in terms of quantity, but it can cause the largest damage to nature, and it could have long-lasting consequences. Two protected marine ecosystems were situated very close to the incident and therefore this spill has massive international conservation consequences [14]. The wind and currents conditions additionally worsen the situation as the oil is being carried into these regions of great biodiversity importance [15]. Coral-bleaching is often related to the death of coral due to increased water temperatures, but it can also be a result of oil spills [16]. Corals are a safe harbour to many young fish and other smaller marine life. Any damage to the corals will cause devastating effects to the local ecology and therefore directly affect global food chains. The oil also managed to penetrate the local mangrove forest which are also important fish nurseries. The initial response to clean up the oil spill was done by helicopter to remove the oil from the ship that had not been leaked yet [17]. Ocean booms were then set up to contain the oil, many of these booms were made by locals from cane trash and even human hair. Seventy five percent of the oil spill was contained and little reached the shoreline but several water-soluble chemicals dissolved into the water and are more difficult to recover once dispersed [18]. Solutions Custom E – CRUDE SPILL a formulation used to remediate land and water environments from hydrocarbon crude oil. The enzymes work immediately after addition into the affected region. The carbon structure of the molecules is metabolised by the enzymes and microbes in the formulation. The formulation can cope in harsh environments and still be extremely effective in aiding the remediation of the environment. To apply the enzymatic formulations a spraying apparatus or educator systems from vessels and fire trucks. The methodology of remediation is to start on the outside of the spill and move into the centre as the oil is removed. Another important feature of the enzymes is that the formulation will not stop working on metabolising the hydrocarbons until the very last drop has been remediated. The use of Custom E – CRUDE SPIll is a cheaper solution to the current oil spill remediation methods with the cost of hiring vessels, aircraft and drones contributing to a higher percentage of expenditure. For each of the case studies mentioned previously the enzymatic formulations would have been able to disperse the oil at a much faster rate than the methods used to clean up each of the disasters. As the Deepwater Horizon would have required the hiring of larger vessels to contain the oil spill to as minimal an area as possible whilst deploying aircraft with firefighting capabilities, the enzymes would tackle the affected area even in the deepest locations. Secondly, as the Mauritian incident was close to the coastline smaller vessels would be possible alongside a fleet on the ground with the solution in backpacks. For the areas just off the coastline it would be beneficial to deploy drones and helicopters. Tiago Martins 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

  • Petroleum Brownfield Site Remediation

    The Petrol/Gas Station Big Picture Currently, in the USA, there are approximately 450,000 brownfield sites, of which half are estimated to be caused by petroleum contamination due to storage tanks leaking underground (USTs) [1]. These sites cause health problems for the local community, contaminate groundwater and drinking water. As of February 2020, there are approximately 115,000 gas stations in operations in the USA [2]. This is a similar story reflected in Canadian towns and cities where there are an estimated 30,000 contaminated brownfield sites that were formerly gas stations. Cleaning up these sites is a costly affair, and the use of on-site remediation using naturally occurring bacteria and fungi to break down hydrocarbons could lead to savings of 30% of the total clean-up cost [3]. In Kalibrate’s 2020 census there were 11,908 retail gas stations in Canada, or 3.1 per 10,000 Canadians [4]. It is estimated that within 30 years petrol stations will be a thing of the past, maybe not 30 years but certainly 50 years for most of the world, and this will leave the entire planet with a lot of brownfield contaminated sites to deal with. In the UK, the government are planning to ban the sale or registration of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040 as part of ‘The UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations´, in a report delivered by The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) with the Department for Transport, any cars that are sold must be zero emissions, and the ban excludes hybrid vehicles [5]. In the UK alone there are currently 8,380 petrol stations [6] that could be facing the end of their time. This will leave several sites that are still creating a hazard and will need to be remediated. In the 1950s there were around 40,000 sites across the UK. These have been in decline as in 2000 the number of gas stations were 13,107 sites. This is mainly due to oil company consolidation. Between 2000 and 2010 there were another 5000 cases of gas stations closing their doors, due to the aggressive pricing strategy of cheap, unbranded fuel by hypermarkets [7]. If we move to a wider view of Europe then as of the end of 2019 Italy led Europe in the number of petrol stations in the country with 21,700, followed by Germany on 14,449 and Turkey in third place with 13,178. The total amount of service stations throughout Europe totalled 138,309, although for some of these figures only the numbers from 2016 and 2017 were available [8]. We can easily see that with the current trend and new European laws that many of these sites will become decommissioned and in need of brownfield site remediation. Without a doubt the world is changing to electric vehicles, GM estimates that by 2023 it will have 20 models of electric vehicle in dealerships around the world. Ford go further to say they will have 40 models of electric and hybrid vehicles in the world by the middle of the decade. Since the USA is the second-largest car market in the world after China [9] we will see a larger amount of brownfield sites in the USA than most other countries in the world. Current forecasts in the USA suggests that if large car manufacturers have their way, then in a decade from now the number of gas stations could be cut by half [10]. Brownfield Sites? What are they? We have established some numbers now, the scale of the problem that exists now and how it is possibly going to look in ten years, so, what do we do about it? Many companies already work in this specialist field remediating petroleum brownfield sites, with many newer environmentally friendly technologies and new companies entering it, firstly though… What is a brownfield site? “Brownfield is a term applied to a property where its expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance. A petroleum brownfield is a type of brownfield where the contaminant is petroleum. Of the estimated 450,000 brownfield sites in the U.S., approximately one-half are thought to be impacted by petroleum, much of it from leaking USTs at old gas stations. These sites blight the surrounding neighbourhoods and threaten human health and the environment. Petroleum can contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of the U.S. population.” [11] Let us focus on the USA for the moment and look towards where potentially the largest single market will be for this, although with all the different states having their own budgets it can sometimes be like working with 50 different countries thankfully the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) being an independent body can apply their guidelines to all states, theoretically. The EPA has two offices that work jointly on the problems commonly faced in these areas, the Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST) and the Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization (OLBR) work together to focus on the remediation and re-use of petroleum contaminated sites, OUST mainly focuses on the clean-up of leaking underground storage sites prioritising high-risk leaks and sites on federally regulated tanks. OLBR meanwhile awards brownfield grants that go towards assessing and cleaning up petroleum brownfield sites, keeping its focus towards low-risk areas. “Since its inception in 1995, EPA's Brownfields Program has grown into a results-oriented program that has changed the way contaminated property is perceived, addressed, and managed. Initially, EPA provided small amounts of seed money to local governments that launched hundreds of two-year brownfield pilot projects.” “Petroleum-contaminated sites were not eligible for traditional brownfields funding. Through the passage of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act in 2002, brownfields policies that EPA developed over the years were passed into law. The 2018 Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act reauthorized EPA's liability provisions and state and tribal response programs.” [11] Health around Brownfield sites. It has been established from Geographical research that significantly more people are increasingly likely to suffer from poor health living near brownfield sites than those living in areas with little or no brownfield land around them. These findings come from the University of Durham in the UK and suggest that brownfield site remediation should be a policy priority for Local Authority public health teams. This research carried out in 2014 was the first of its kind to examine the link between poor health in the local population and brownfield site location and recognised the previously overlooked link between brownfields and the environmental influence on health. The Homes and Communities Agency had an estimate then of around 62,000 hectares of brownfield land in England. The excerpt of the paper goes on to say: The research is published in the academic journal Environment and Planning A. Professor Clare Bambra, lead author of the study from Durham’s Department of Geography, said: “Our study shows that local authorities and central government need to prioritise the remediation and regeneration of brownfield land to protect the health of communities.” Co-author of the study Dr Karen Johnson, from Durham University’s School of Engineering and Computing Sciences and Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience said: “Brownfield has potential negative impacts on people’s sense of wellbeing, and this could be psychological or toxicological, or both. The study used data on brownfield land from the 2009 National Land Use Database, which encompasses around 72 per cent of previously developed land across England. Health data for the study was taken from the 2001 English Census, and data on premature death was used from the Office for National Statistics from 1998-2003. [12] The benefits of greenfield sites in urban developments There are many ways to remediate petroleum brownfield sites but undoubtedly the best result would be to create greenfield sites, where the land is not only remediated but then converted into green open spaces, like parks and playgrounds. Perhaps one of the best examples of the benefit of a greenfield site is Central Park in Manhattan, New York. If one were to think of an urban greenfield site this is most likely the place many people think of. There are many reasons for this, the park itself measures 341 hectares and the real estate around it is some of the most expensive in the world. In the original commissars’ plan of 1811, the park was not included, however as the city started to grow from 1821 to 1855 and the metropolitan area of New York quadrupled its population the need was recognised for an open space where people go to unwind. Andrew Jackson Downing recognised this and as the first landscape artist in the USA wanted to emulate Hyde Park in London and the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. So in 1853, the New York legislature gave up the area between 59th and 110th streets, and one of the first ‘modern day’ inner-city parks was born [13]. Not every remediated site will reach this lofty status, however, it has been shown that remediating areas into greenfield site is beneficial to inner-city areas. The New York / New Jersey (NY/NJ) Baykeeper position paper of April 2006 entitled “Brownfields to Greenfields” said it best: Because most brownfields are found in densely populated urban areas, these properties have significant potential for redevelopment and for Greenfields purposes. The benefits of Greenfields are many, particularly in densely populated areas. Greenfields can play a critical role in the human and environmental health of cities. Urban areas traditionally have a dire lack of open space, while shouldering a disproportionate share of industrial pollution. One of the poorest cities in the nation, Newark, New Jersey, suffers from an acute lack of recreational open space; just 5.3% of its land base is open space, which equates to 2.9 acres per 1,000 residents. Balanced Land Use Guidelines suggest that 10 acres per 1,000 people is the minimal amount of developable land that should be set aside as public open space. The position paper goes on to list the commonly recognized benefits of Greenfields: Neighbourhood revitalization Community health Environmental justice Environmental/ecosystem health Economic benefits and cost savings are listed as quantifiable benefits from converting brownfields to Greenfields as well. The International Economic Development Council is reported to have found that projects that provide greenspace more than double the value of surrounding properties. That increased property value adjacent to greenspace is reported to be more than four times the increase in citywide property values. In addition, a federal study is reported to have found that when quality of life issues, such as increased greenspace, are ignored or are a low priority, a municipality has a more difficult time attracting and retaining business and the rate of economic growth is lowered. [14] Petroleum Brownfield Site Identification, Assessment and Remediation. We now know what a Petroleum Brownfield site is, how it can affect the health of the local populace, what next? Well, we need to find sites available for remediation, once we locate a site and find out it is suitable and on the market for remediation either with a government/EPA grant or private investments we need to think about what we will do with the land? This is something to consider before starting work. Options for Remediation of Petroleum Brownfield Sites Car Park or flat unused ground. Industrial Estates and shopping malls. Housing. Greenfield Site. Depending on the new purpose for the site will determine the level of remediation required, and there is a lot to consider. Many factors will determine this, such as the level of funding, the space available, what a local community really need and how to go about it. Traditional methods involve removing the contaminated soils to landfill sites where there is still a contamination risk of pollutants leaching into the surrounding areas and into the groundwater. It is costly and not always convenient on both timescale and budget. It is also not the best method because new soils and infill need to be brought into the area, however what if there was a way to keep the original soils there and to remediate the entire pollution problem? At Custom Enzymes we have developed an enzymatic solution that uses both enzymes and bacteria to digest oils, we currently use it for oil spills, and it is adaptable for brownfield sites, the theory is to drill equidistant holes in the soil and inject the solution so that it may spread within the soil digesting the hydrocarbon molecules wherever it finds them. So how do enzymes work? Infinita Biotech say it best: All Enzymes have unique characteristics. They can vary depending upon their specification. Enzymes mostly are highly efficient, and they come up with great catalytic powers. This means they can transform almost 1000 and sometimes even up to 10,000 substrate particles into products every second. Enzymes can also easily proceed 108 times quicker as compared to the uncatalyzed reaction. Enzymes never impact the equilibrium constant even if there is a surge in the concentration of the substrate in the product. You will need only a little fraction of enzymes under normal situations for catalysing and speeding up the chemical reaction. Enzymes never change during a chemical reaction. Sometimes Amino acid residue of the enzyme can break, or it can sometimes even lead to the genesis of covalent bonds with the substrate. But enzymes can restructure those bonds that break and separate them with substrates. You can regulate enzymes in different ways. But the functioning of catalysts cannot control. Most of the time, activators, as well as coenzymes, are essential for enzyme catalysis. This process is beneficial in increasing the potency and effectiveness of the enzymes because of the existence of any weak bond in the middle of the enzyme and the metal ion. In addition to this, certain molecules may inhibit the function of enzymes. They do so by modifying their regular shape and size. Usage of different drugs is closely related to their working as an enzyme inhibitor. The efficiency and impact of enzyme catalysts can be maximum when it is at its ideal temperature. An increase, as well as a decrease of the ideal optimum temperature, could lead to a reduction in the catalytic functioning. The catalysis of an enzyme can also differ depending upon the PH level of the mixture—enzyme functions at its maximum capability when the PH is in the middle range of 5 to 7. The catalytic functioning of the enzyme can reduce by using competitive inhibitors, non-competitive inhibitors, as well as irreversible inhibitors. The competitive inhibitors are ones that are tied to the active place of the enzyme. The non-competitive inhibitors are those that can get attached to any other site of the enzyme rather than the active place. All of these enable the enzymes to be less active and sometimes even inactive. The irreversible inhibitors are those that bond with the enzyme itself to make it inactive. Most people do not know this, but the enzymes can sometimes also work reversely. This means that enzymes do not regulate the direction of the chemical reaction. Enzymes only work to accelerate the rate of reaction till it achieves equilibrium. Since we understand the nature and characteristics of enzymes, it can become an easy task to understand the characteristics of enzyme catalysis. Enzyme catalysis is a simple process that leads to an increase in the rate of enzymes. Most enzymes are made up of proteins. But enzymes can also include non-protein components like metal ions and specialized organic molecules as a cofactor. Most cofactors are vitamins, and they are usually linked to their usage in the catalysis of biological processes at the time of metabolism. Catalysis of biochemical reactions is quite important as most metabolically essential reactions have a meagre rate when they do not have the catalysing capability. Examples Transformation of glucose to ethanol in the presence of zymase enzymes The hydrolysis process of urea in the presence of urease enzyme is another major example of enzyme catalysis. The Hydrolysis process of starch to maltose in the presence of an enzyme called Maltase. In our stomach, pepsin converts proteins to peptides. [15] So, with all this information at hand, you can see how the benefits of using enzymes far outweigh the costs of not using enzymes. For more information please contact. We will be happy to talk through enzymatic solutions, applications, delivery methods and remediation with enzymes, thank you for reading I look forwards to your responses and suggestions. References Robert Furness 28th June 2021

  • The Risks of Chemical Disinfectant and Cleaners. What Can be Used as a Safe Eco-friendly Alternative

    The recent plight of coronavirus in countries across the globe, has accrued the demand for products to wash and disinfect onerous surfaces and sanitizing vehicles and the workplace. With the rise in health outlay and therefore the rising range of COVID-19 cases, the demand and use for surface disinfectants is predicted to grow considerably. Liquid surface disinfectants are strong, biocidal, or toxic antimicrobial chemicals, which can be applied to contaminated surfaces. However, they do not come without risk… The function of disinfectants is to kill and prevent the growth of microorganisms. Disinfectants are potentially noxious/harmful substances which are used in intensive animal production and disease control programmes. In fulfilling this role, disinfectants may also have an adverse impact on the environment. Given that disinfectants are selected for their toxic properties, it is no surprise that these products may harm beneficial microorganisms, plant, and animal life, and even humans, considering the amount used today. Below are the most common ingredients used and the risks they pose: Formaldehyde When present in the air at levels exceeding 0.1 ppm, some individuals may experience adverse effects such as watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation. Is a highly toxic systemic poison that is absorbed well by inhalation. The vapor is a severe respiratory tract and skin irritant and may cause dizziness or suffocation. Contact with formaldehyde solution may cause severe burns to the eyes and skin. Some mascaras contain formaldehyde which can cause irritation to the eyes and an allergic reaction. Glutaraldehyde Exposure to glutaraldehyde may cause the following symptoms: throat and lung irritation, asthma and difficulty breathing, dermatitis, nasal irritation, sneezing, wheezing, burning eyes, and conjunctivitis. Workers may be harmed from exposure to glutaraldehyde and is classed as a hazardous waste. Hydrogen peroxide Is a strong oxidizer (moderate oxidizer in lower concentrations), and can be corrosive to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. This chemical can cause burns to the skin and tissue damage to the eyes. Take special caution to avoid contact with hydrogen peroxide mist. In a 2014 press release about sun screen the American Chemical Society noted that, "high amounts of hydrogen peroxide can harm phytoplankton, the microscopic algae that feed everything from small fish to shrimp to whales." Iodophors The fumes of can cause a serious headache or a migraine. Nausea and vomiting can also happen when inhaling products such as hand sanitizer. Especially with long-term use, the potent fumes of alcohol can cause problems with your digestive tract. OPA A potential health concern over the long-term use of OPA (o-phthalaldehyde or ortho-phthalaldehyde) has been raised by reports of workers and patients experiencing contact dermatitis, as well as occupational asthma and other respiratory problems following exposure. Peracetic acid Is corrosive/irritating to the eyes, mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, and skin. It causes lacrimation, extreme discomfort, and irritation to the upper respiratory tract in humans after exposure to concentrations as low as 5 ppm for only 3 min. Phenol Exposure may cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and nervous system. Some symptoms of exposure to phenol are weight loss, weakness, exhaustion, muscle aches, and pain. Severe exposure can cause liver and/or kidney damage, skin burns, tremor, convulsions, and twitching Acute toxic effects may include the death of animals, birds, or fish, and death or low growth rate in plants. Longer term effects may include shortened lifespan, reproductive problems, lower fertility, and changes in appearance or behaviour. QACs Can cause allergic skin rashes even with very limited exposure. Eye contact with QACs (Quaternary Ammonium Compounds) can cause burning of the eyes. Splashing concentrated QAC solution in your eye can cause severe injury including blindness. Breathing in QACs can cause irritation of the nose and throat. QACs are toxic to a lot of aquatic organisms including fish, daphniids, algae, rotifer and microorganisms employed in wastewater treatment systems. And antibiotic resistance has emerged in microorganisms due to excessive use of QACs in household and industrial applications. So, with all these risks to our health why do they continue to be used? Human Behaviour and Chemicals. As humans we are habitual and conditioned to act positively or negatively regardless of the impact large or small. Our latest project coincides on disinfectant use and assessing the role we all play in the problem. There is increasing awareness of the quantities of chemicals used every year across the globe; while the quality of available data varies, estimates suggest the total production is around 140 billion tonnes so far in 2021 alone. That over $4 trillion in value and not one of them has ever been tested for any cocktail effect ever. The question here is how competent or not are we towards chemical use and the problems that arise from there use? Our hypothesis and assumptions suggest we need to be more self-aware when our human behavior and actions dictate the outcomes. So next time you reach for the conventional cleaner or dip the mop, give a thought for the environment, the health and wellbeing of the workplace and it the people doing the cleaning. The next generation of green environmental cleaning. There is a plethora of unsafe and not so friendly cleaning products currently on the market and thought should also be taken into the amount of plastic generated to transport them. A double whammy for the environment. Conventional cleaning products play a big role in shaping the indoor environment in which we live and work. To achieve their so-called desirable effects, traditional cleaners include a variety of chemicals that can have adverse effects on human health. Innovation has led to the commercial development of an eco-friendly disinfection formulation, CUSTOM E BIOCLEAN, that replaces hazardous chemical-based disinfectants or biocides without negative effects on the environment, that exceeds traditional cleaning standards by providing an effective, safe, and targeted approach to microorganisms. Our CUSTOM E BIOCLEAN is a special formulation based on multiple components which causes the elimination and disintegration of Bacteria, Virus and Fungus whilst not allowing bacterial strains to create microbial resistance. A Plastic Free Solution We are very conscious of our planet and the impact we as humans have on its future. To play our part, we refuse to include plastic in any of our product delivery therefore, by using BIOCLEAN you are not only stopping disinfectant waste residue entering our water systems, but you also contribute to less plastic floating in our oceans or pilling up in landfills. A Cleaner Greener Future Green chemistry ensures products are environmentally safe, that the processes for making them are safe and that there is no waste, It is about avoiding the use of toxic agents that are manufactured into such products as disinfectants whilst making sure they can simply degrade into something benign when reaching the environment. With this is mind, it is our vision to ultimately minimise our environmental impact by developing new products and processes that meet the above conditions. Basically, enough is enough, rather than continually using harmful and hazardous products just switch to new more innovative technologies for the sake of the planet and who we leave it to. Steve Booton - 21st June 2021

  • Plant Growth with Enzymes, a Vital Soil Component

    Let’s take a step back to the basics of complex molecular breakdown. Enzymes are naturally occurring compounds that are present almost everywhere, responsible for chemically breaking down complex nutrients or molecular structures that are essential in processes and conditions like digestion and biodegradation. Should either of the two cease on themselves life would either be very different from what we know it to today or it would be almost impossible for life to bloom. This helps us derive that enzymatic presence has been thriving among the key ingredients like carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, etc, the key ingredients that make life possible. So, wherever you find life, know that there are numerous enzymes working their magic for maintaining the overall balance through the process of creation, degradation, and regeneration. Plants require enzymes for the absorption of necessary nutrients, carrying out photosynthesis and so on and whenever an animal or plant ceases to be alive, they break down too, due to the microbial contribution which pushes for enzyme secretion resulting in decomposition and finally ends up in the ground. This results in nitrogen-enriched soil while also being subject to furthermore enzymatic activity, enriches the soil and breaks down molecules of nitrogen, phosphorus, etc into compounds that are easily absorbable for healthy plant growth. As an example, Science has learned that plants make their own food through a conversion process called Photosynthesis. Plants absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide for processing sugars which conveniently lets out oxygen in the atmosphere as a counter-reaction, naturally, enzymes are involved but to what extent is yet to be understood. Plants also possess an entire network of root venations that plant-science studies are hypothesizing that they resemble the nervous system and function as a means to communicate via chemical impulses however, what we do know for sure is that plants use the roots for extracting essential nutrients and minerals like nitrogen and phosphorus from the soil, although, unlike photosynthesis, it relies on extracellular microbial enzymatic-activity for breaking down phosphorus and nitrogen-rich compounds into a form that plants can easily absorb. Enzymes are well known to play a substantial role and seen as vital activators in so many processes, one of particular interest is in maintaining soil health and its environment. A unique balance of chemical, physical, and biological (including microbial especially enzyme activities) components contribute to maintaining soil health. To recover from disturbances, such as drought, climate change, pest infestation, pollution, and human exploitation, healthy soils are essential for the integrity of terrestrial ecosystems to remain intact, A thorough application of soil enzymes is a critical factor in assuring that soil remains healthy to protect and support the terrestrial environment and supports all its life forms, is therefore of high priority. To maintain soil ecology, its physical and chemical properties, fertility and health, soil enzymes continuously play an important role. All soils contain a group of enzymes that include oxidoreductases, hydrolases and transferases that determine soil metabolic processes which, in turn, depend on the physical, chemical, microbiological, and biochemical properties that revive arid and unfertile soil. Enzymes in soils interact with the surrounding soil constituents. These include minerals, nutrients, and rhizosphere among numerous others. Enzymes are biocatalysts that speed up essential biochemical reactions for plants and rhizobacteria while contributing to nutrient recycling and stabilizing the soil by degrading wastes. Enzymes for Plant Growth- The Benefits The nutritional quality of the soil can be improved by introducing enzyme-producing microbes or agricultural enzymatic formulations along with adding other natural media. When added to soil, Proteases degrade proteins and increase the amount of available nitrogen in the soil, thus improving soil fertility. To increase bioavailable nitrogen levels that are beneficial for plant nutrition urease can play a role when added. Reducing dependence on harmful chemical fertilizers whilst improving crop yield at the same time, the introduction of custom enzymes to the soil promotes rhizobacteria that promote essential plant growth. Soil enzymes also play a crucial role in soil remediation. Soil suffers from various forms of pollution and through impurities like heavy metals, polyphosphate rocks, urea, starch, and cellulose residues. Contrary to popular belief, animal and plant fats are also not easily absorbed. Enzymes and selected microbes synergistically break down these residuals into compost, quickly making the soil fertile, and releasing valuable nutrients as a readily available source for plant nutrition. Agricultural Enzymes- Sources The source of soil enzymes can be microbes, plants, and animals. There are numerous enzymes found in the soil. Commercially enzymes are sourced from microbe cultures of both fungi and bacteria. Though bacterial cultivation is an easy process compared to fungi, fungi have a larger portfolio of enzymes that can work in extreme conditions. Key enzymes that support and promote plant growth Soil microbes thrive on dead root cells, called exudates, a carbon-rich compound, powering their growth and activities that result in enzyme secretion that processes nutrients for plant absorption. Soils for agricultural purposes predominately lack microbial activity, contents beneficial for retaining soil fertility are introduced in the soil or in other cases synthesized enzymes like phosphatase, chitinases and proteases. Phosphatase Phosphorus, one of the key pillars on which life rests, is highly crucial for energy to move through the system, therefore it is essential for the phenomena called life to set its course in action and in the case of plants we already know how this mineral is made available to them. Although, over time and numerous seasons minerals and salts like phosphorus tend to accumulate with other residuals and form clusters, a condition known as occlusion. The only way the mineral is accepted for assimilation is as dissolved phosphate and plants rely on phosphatase, usually produced by bacteria, fungi, dead roots, etc, for the conversion of organic phosphorus into plant-available forms of phosphate. Chitinases Plant growth and health are dependent on various other factors not just the key elements of Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, and Sulfur. Plants continue to be exposed to various other bacterial and virus attacks, most plants are often victims to diseases caused by fungi and nematodes, also known to be the most common and predominant microbes responsible for poor yields in the context of agriculture and farming, which targets plant-immunity and degrades the overall health of the organism. Plants, just like humans rely on nutrients for building immunity against pathogens and diseases, Chitinases is an enzyme that works similarly for plants by enhancing their defence against fungal species like Fusarium, Botrytis and Magnaporthe some of the most common pathogens that affect plant-crop throughout the globe. Chitinolytic enzymes, act aggressively on a key component within the cell wall of a fungal organism called chitin which renders the deterioration of its cell wall while leaving the host plant intact and fostering its growth in terms of yields. Proteases Protease primarily carries out the molecular breakdown of protein-rich compounds, called proteolysis which aids in breaking down nitrogenous compounds and degrading harmful proteins and ensuring the supply of essential amino acids. Like all organisms, plants require amino acids which are broken down proteins and essential for ensuring cellular homeostasis, while posing as a watchdog that regulates antigens, immunity-response, reproduction, growth and development, embryogenesis, photosynthesis, etc, Conclusion Soil enzymes and select microbes play a key role in plant growth. They render nutrient-rich soil, decrease composting time, build plant immunity, and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers. Achieving clean feedstock with enzymatic formulations is a novel approach to replacing traditional fertilizer control. A true circular organic food system should start with soil preparation through to the process phase eliminating the need for inorganic inputs to ensure feedstock is contaminant free.

  • Fertilizer shortage – An opportunity for change

    The current conflict and ban on exports will undoubtable see increasing pressure on pricing and worse a global shortage on supply of traditional fertilizer. Russia currently produces approximately 30% of world demand and 70% of input products for European production. Agriculture and food finance institution Rabobank has suggested that three scenarios for the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on the global agricultural product market, including fertilizers which, are already far too high for most farmers. Should the fertilizer export ban from Russia be prolonged, the price will no doubt continue to rise. As natural gas is the primary driver of fertilizer production pricing, manufacturers worldwide will have no choice to raise input costs, that will flow on to hurting wallets of the consumer. Farmers, who are scaling back on fertilizer to reduce costs, would use conventional wisdom that this is the answer that could potentially trigger lower crop yields and push prices for food even higher around the world. Food costs are already the most expensive in a decade, according to the United Nations. What is the impact of a fertilizer shortage? A good one! The decades of traditional agricultural control use are a key driver from an environmental standpoint on the decline of our planet, from poor soil quality, run off, water pollution, dead zones the list goes on. From a supply side perspective its energy intensive to manufacture and transport so think emissions… All this in the name of plant growth. Change is coming! What? There is an alternative? That alternative is nature and now more than ever is an opportunity for it to do what it should however, it needs a little help. Firstly, farmers need to understand and accept the alternatives to synthetic controls that can and will do the same if not more without affecting yields as nature has an uncanny ability to provide everything a plant needs to grow. Secondly, with the advancements in green chemistry or commonly biotechnology there is a plethora of data and successful outcomes that can provide the necessary boost in nutrition that crops need. The latter of these which, is the most important is soil. Get this right and the rest will take care of itself. A unique balance of chemical, physical, and biological components contribute to maintaining soil health. Healthy soils are essential for the integrity of terrestrial ecosystems to remain intact or to recover from disturbances, such as drought, climate change, pest infestation, pollution, and human exploitation. As soil is the part of the terrestrial environment and supports all terrestrial life forms, protection of soil is therefore of high priority. What does all this mean? The farmer – Has the chance to turn what really should be known as toxic sites into flourishing, enriched pastures that provide the absolute best in nutritious products. Reduce and then remove the need for synthetic enhancers and develop a path of regeneration. The consumer – Why does organic carry the tag of expensive, should this not be the reverse against chemical-controlled processes. The inputs used are less expensive and can produce an equivalent or better product. As fertilizer shortages put even more pressure on price, farmers that switch to a natural alternative could see significant savings beyond 200% per hectare. Green Chemistry - also called sustainable chemistry, is an area of chemistry and chemical engineering focused on the design of products and processes that minimize or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. While environmental chemistry focuses on the effects of polluting chemicals on nature, green chemistry focuses on the environmental impact of chemistry, including reducing consumption of non-renewable resources and technological approaches for preventing pollution. One such example is the use of enzymes as an alternative to synthetic fertilisers, as these formulations play a significant role across several industries including agriculture now and in future. There is a misconception that green tech is expensive and lacks the proof to be a consideration however, this is not the case. Enzymes have been around for millennia and are known as an integral part of life. Synthetics the real issues Even the very best quality fertiliser is inefficient and at best is no better than 60% effective, leaving 40% behind in the field, a missed opportunity for an already struggling industry. 1 - The Ecosystem - Fertilizers can cause changes in the soil that affect flora and fauna. 2 - Incorrect use may provide no benefit - In extremely high concentrations, it can cause die off. 3 - Groundwater pollution - A large number of synthetic fertilizers in soils leads to groundwater contamination. 4 - Soil pollution - Large volumes of toxins build up in the soil. 5 - Soil is rendered less fertile - Minerals are significantly reduced in the soil as synthetic fertilizers only contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. 6 - Short term gain with long term pain - Long-term use season after season can pollute soils, making crop production no longer achievable. 7 - Can lead to harmful consumption - The amount of incorrect fertilizer applied can lead to toxic elements ending up in the food chain. 8 - Synthetic fertilizers are made from many non-renewable sources - A main ingredient being hydrocarbons. 9 - Chemical fertilizers trap or deplete several key minerals and elements - This causes crops to be nutrient deficient. 10 - Ph levels of soils are altered - The change in PH can cause and effect the soils ecosystem. Believe in the power of natural biology Adopting biotechnology and regenerative practices will lead to beneficial outcomes across the value chain. • Leverage plants and crops natural ability to photosynthesise • Increase crop resilience, and nutrient density • Alternative weed control • A strong mycelial network • Develop a structured water system • CO2 sequestration In summary Achieving clean feedstock with enzymatic formulations is a novel approach to preventing or removing contaminants. A true circular organic food system should start at soil preparation through to the process phase eliminating the need for inorganic inputs to ensure feedstock is contaminant and disease free. The only pill you should ever need comes out of the ground! - Steve Booton, Custom Enzymes.

  • Apparently, Poo is the New Fertilizer

    Yes, it’s in the news again. Poo aka Biosolids is once more being touted as the replacement for chemical fertilizers. Growing up, I remember the smell that would waft away in the breeze for days as farmers used animal effluent to cover their fields with the goal of adding much-needed nutrients back into the soil. Scary thought… I felt compelled to put my thoughts into words, once I read an article that wrote about the use of human effluent as an alternative - “A groundbreaking trial that started 20 years ago fertilising Queensland cotton farms with treated human sewage has become so popular more than 100 farmers are now on the waiting list”. Read the full article here. You may think “it’s only cotton” and I cannot eat that, well think again. If that waiting list gets hold of commercially sold poo, then expect your everyday vegetables to be fed what your body or industry extinguished in the first place. Whilst the article and the feedback provided by farmers on the performance using such effluent was encouraging, what it does not mention are the real facts. Millions of kilograms of human effluent pass through and receive treatment in wastewater facilities every day. The discharged water, after cleaning, leaves behind toxic sludge that wastewater treatment plants must dispose of. This “biosolid” sludge is expensive to dispose of because it must go to a landfill, but the waste management industry is increasingly using a money-making alternative – repackaging the sludge as fertilizer and injecting it into the nation’s food chain. As mentioned in the article, sludge holds nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients that help crops grow, so the waste management industry lightly treats it and sells it cheaply to farmers who view it as a cost-saving product and an alternative to traditional chemical controls. What it does not say is the presence of other contaminants that are near on impossible to remove under current processes. The excrement from which sludge derives has mixed with any number of manufactured chemicals that industry discharges from pipes or otherwise dump into the sewer system. By the time the mix lands in treatment plants, it can be teeming with pharmaceuticals, hormones, pathogens, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasitic worms, as well as heavy metals like lead, cadmium, arsenic, or mercury. It often includes PCBs, PFAS, dioxins, BPAs and dozens of other harmful substances ranging from flame retardants to hospital waste. The waste management industry treats sludge in several ways – air drying, pasteurization and composting are among common methods before labelling it as fertilizer. Lime is added to raise the pH level to reduce odour, and about 95% of pathogens, viruses and other organisms are killed in the process. However, the thousands of chemicals known to be in biosolids, or tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals that remain behind and which are not tested or cannot be removed. Sewage sludge is behind a widening PFAS crisis. PFAS, or “forever chemicals”, are linked to a range of serious health problems like cancer, thyroid disorders, immune disorders, and low birth weight. The chemicals are a product used to make non-stick or water-resistant products and are found in everything from raincoats to dental floss to food packaging. In the USA In biosolid testing that the EPA has conducted, it has identified more than 350 pollutants. That includes 61 it classifies “as acutely hazardous, hazardous or priority pollutants”, but the law requires only nine of those be removed. Moreover, the EPA and wastewater treatment plants don’t test for or otherwise analyse most of the 80,000 manmade chemicals. In a scathing 2018 report, the EPA office of inspector general noted the agency couldn’t properly regulate biosolids, even if it sincerely tried, because “it lacked the data or risk assessment tools needed to make a determination on the safety of 352 pollutants found in biosolids”. Though regulators and industry don’t know what’s in biosolids, there’s strong evidence that it can be dangerous. A University of North Carolina study found 75% of people living near farms that spread biosolids experienced health issues like burning eyes, nausea, vomiting, boils and rashes, while others have contracted MRSA, a penicillin-resistant “superbug”. In South Carolina, sludge containing high levels of carcinogenic PCBs was spread on cropland, and in Georgia sludge killed cows. Biosolids are also thought to be partly responsible for toxic algae blooms in the Great Lakes and Florida, and biosolid treatment centres regularly pollute the air around them. Source The Guardian In Australia Treatment options for PFAS-impacted wastes are extremely limited. This is due to the chemical characteristics of PFAS and because the chemicals are relatively new contaminants of concern. In general, thermal treatment of PFAS via incineration seems to be the best treatment possible. The EPA is aware of several facilities that have this capability. If a waste disposal contractor tells you that it can treat PFAS waste, EPA recommends you check that the company can prove its ability to effectively destroy or permanently capture PFAS. In England The Environment Agency says PFAS is “ubiquitous in the environment”, particularly in its waters, making it unlikely that drinking water sources have escaped contamination. But unlike countries such as the US, where a nationwide testing scheme is underway, the UK government has so far only made plans to make plans to understand the levels of water pollution. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says it takes “the risks posed by PFAS chemicals very seriously, which is why we’re working at pace with regulators to better assess their presence in our natural environment and their sources.” In summary Worryingly, land application of biosolids is gaining popularity and is seen as beneficial in terms of resource recovery and soil improvement, however, there are greater concerns regarding human health hazards and the environment. Regardless of how biosolids are treated, it has been shown that pathogen reactivation and regrowth in land-applied biosolids is one of the growing risks. Pathogen reactivation/regrowth may be the source of contamination to the crops and animals, which eventually affects humans through the food chain, or another issue is the generation of odour and aerosols. These methods involve the spreading, spraying, injection, or incorporation of biosolids onto or below land surface. As the biosolids are rich in organic matter such as proteins, amino acids and other nutrients, the decomposition of these compounds emits a very noticeable noxious odour. The aerosolization of biosolids is also an inherent problem, especially during application and under windy conditions. Aerosols from biosolids can also contain pathogens, biotoxins, as well as harmful chemical compounds. It has also been claimed that more robust faecal indicators such as Clostridia and coliphages, which are more resistant to thermal treatment, are prevalent in aerosols. For biosolids to be managed and produced in a sustainable manner, further research and efforts are needed to achieve higher quality, improved nutrient recovery, and a higher degree of public understanding and acceptance. The lack of knowledge on heavy metal contamination other emerging organic wastewater contaminants including steroids, pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, pesticides, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metabolites of soaps and detergents, hormones, etc. arising from biosolids, needs immediate stringent regulations to be formulated.

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