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Author: Subject: Nitrifying Bacteria Reactor for Generating Nitrate Salts
Cooper_Panda
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[*] posted on 25-3-2021 at 08:09
Nitrifying Bacteria Reactor for Generating Nitrate Salts


I don't have such a hard time getting a hold of nitrates in my area, but I want to synthesize it from ammonia using nitrifying bacteria. This has a long history in in the production of fertilizer and explosives in the absence of nitrate minerals or access to the haber bosch process.
Most references I see to this sort of process refer to the bulk digesting of dung but I'd like a cleaner and more pure process.

My vision is to have drums (or on the first try, more likely a 10 gallon water cooler) filled with growth media (ie pumice, lava rocks, etc), water, and micronutrient & nitrifying bacteria additives purchased from an aquarium supply. I'll then add store bought ammonia and collect the (filtered) effluent into pans or just release it on the (nonporous) ground to evaporate.
I imagine sterilizing the growth media, additives, and using distilled or at least store bought drinking water to eliminate any other growth besides my nitrifying bacteria, as well as controlling the environment to optimize their growth and nitrate production rate. Micronutrient packets may not even be necessary if I use store bought mineral water, I'm not sure.
I would add the ammonia slowly and test the effluent for ammonia and nitrate levels frequently at first but I hope I can raise a large and efficient enough colony in the reactor to scale up to dumping gallons of store bought ammonia into the reactor at a time and evaporating significant quantities of nitrate salts in the summer sun.

I haven't been able to find any resources of people doing this particular sort of thing with nitrifying bacteria, though aquaponic resources have been helpful general. Does anyone have any resources for this? At this point my biggest question is: what, if any, is the toxic level of ammonia or nitrate for nitrifying bacteria? Most resources limit the conversation to a few ppm since these molecules are toxic to aquatic life at low levels, but I am aiming for an industrious reactor!

Thanks for any help!


PS if I can get this reactor running, I would love to set up a parallel nitrogen fixing reactor later on
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Alkoholvergiftung
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[*] posted on 25-3-2021 at 11:10


1% of Ammonia kill all bacterias. calciumnitrate 20% and potassium around 7% but im not sure.
Interesting thing if you reduce oxygen level to 2%. Bacterial speed is reduced to 50%. But if you highen oxygen level to 2% Speed is highend to 50%.
Some document says Muntz laine used peat but natural pozzula earth in cherry size is 30% more effective.
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[*] posted on 25-3-2021 at 14:19


I would be looking more at methods that have been proven effective historically.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate#French_metho...
http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=69529

I don't think it is necessarily easy. But possible. I do recall a Youtuber making gunpowder, beginning with urine. It may have been an early Cody's Lab video.
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[*] posted on 25-3-2021 at 15:16


Quote: Originally posted by Cooper_Panda  
I haven't been able to find any resources of people doing this particular sort of thing with nitrifying bacteria


Enter that into the search engine. Things would be easier to find if there were fewer threads.

Quote: Originally posted by Alkoholvergiftung  
Some document


Compost had the advantage of appropriate organisms already present, they said. Peat was better than soils.




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[*] posted on 26-3-2021 at 11:46


The attached paper from Mahne et al (1996) describes a series of chemostatic experiments with varying ammonium, pH, oxygen, and initial microbe inoculation. Their results show no reduction in activity even at 3000mg/L ammonium and reference operational parameters of up to 5000mg/L in wastewater treatment applications. Their experiments utilize "synthetic wastewater" containing micronutrient minerals, ammonium, and no organic carbon. This allowed them to more closely track the ammonium consumption and nitrate production.
In the latter half of the paper they describe experiments with organic carbon and denitrifying bacteria present (from aliquots of actual wastewater), which can reduce the ammonium->nitrate efficiency (lost to N2 and liberated ammonia gas) from 100% in the case of a carbon-free "synthetic wastewater" to 71% in a 1:1 actual wastewater:synthetic media to 32% in pure actual wastewater.
I'd like to recreate their series of experiments to see if I can reproduce their results, and I want to try even higher levels of ammonium. They used 500-3000, I would like to use 3000, 5000, 10,000 and maybe even higher mg/L. What's attractive to me about this "synthetic carbon free media" is that it shouldn't stink too bad, the nitrifiers should operate at maximum nitrate production efficiency, and the resulting effluent will be nearly pure nitrate salts, with slight MgSO4 and CaCl2 contamination (and trace micronutrient salts)

https://sci-hub.se/10.1016/j.aquaeng.2018.04.002
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[*] posted on 26-3-2021 at 11:48


The follow up to my first set of experiments will be to follow this other paper which examines similar systems under constant flow conditions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC106468/#B17
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[*] posted on 26-3-2021 at 13:52


I think the optimal temperature is the bigger problem. Some write from 27C to 35C or 29C to 37C. If your reactor is big you need an lot of energy. Its easier to heat an tip of an nail to 1600C than 50liter of earth to 30C.
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[*] posted on 28-3-2021 at 01:10


what, 1% ammonia? i call bollocks on that one.
about a year ago i was trying to bulk ferment piss in a very trashy wooden structure using hay as substrate
as i had some jugs of piss standing around, im very certain that was at least 10% ammonia, and something more foul than hell also

i had to abandon the project, but i spoke to one chemist years ago and he theorized using no substrate, just letting it have a go in total liquid, in a bucket or even 200L drum. the key is bacteria and oxygen
and how do you get oxygen in an closed environment? aquarium bubbler, just throw some air into a hose, maybe tip it off with a pipette with small holes or some foam like component that will micronize the bubbles for larger surface area

as for heating the whole deal, haystacks generate their own heat and has been used to pump heat into houses in old days by some heat conducting construction, you might be able to just wrap the whole thing up in hay and pour some piss over it and of course some waterproof blankets and so forth

i sadly cannot right now get to try out this air bubbler piss experiment, whats really an issue here is how much of this and that can bacteria live in

are there any catalysts to this bacteria, maybe throw in some B-vitamins or trace minerals? i recall codys lab did this thing long ago, disappointingly small scaled, but he threw in some lime rocks, which would barely do anything but keep acidity off, maybe half a pH point to basic

a problem with dumping in air would be you get evaporative cooling, assuming the sorrounding air is relatively dry, this would cool down the process and if process prefers almost body temperature it would make sense to insulate it well or sorround it by some heat generating process




~25 drops = 1mL @dH2O viscocity - STP
Truth is ever growing - but without context theres barely any such.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_table
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[*] posted on 28-3-2021 at 01:44


Iron ions are good for the Bacterias. But most Books write 1% ammonia is the killing concentration. Modern water treatment experiments have some Gallert for nitrification. Dont know what that stuff is but for home experiments you need something with an very big survace or an higher oxygen co2 atmosphare. I think the main problem is to warm over an long period than an big mass.You need an lot of energy for it.
I ve done it with compost and an soil Ph messure instrument. If you add some ammoniumcontaining substance like Urea the ph raises to 10 and after few days it sinks to 5. If you turn every day your heap the speed increases. When you add gyps or you use ammoniumsulfate the ph never goes obove 8,5. I had the yield of half pound per cubic foot. Thats what all historical books say as maximum from this methode.
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[*] posted on 28-3-2021 at 09:44


Quote: Originally posted by Antiswat  
haystacks generate their own heat and has been used to pump heat into houses in old days


I believe this. The temperature at the bottom of such a pile is amazing.

The dudes in the nitrification thread stepped up their game with a more controlled plan than previous operators had, crossing over from alchemy to science.

Their desired bacteria were not particularly thermophilic. They advised against raising thermophiles in general, and ammonium much above 0.1M. A higher amount is unnecessary with a 2.5M nitrate product.

[Edited on 28-3-2021 by S.C. Wack]




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[*] posted on 28-3-2021 at 11:59


Quote: Originally posted by Antiswat  
im very certain that was at least 10% ammonia,


I'm very certain you didn't.
Human urine typically contains about 8 grams of nitrogen per litre.
You can't get 15% ammonia starting from 0.8% nitrogen.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine#Constituents

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[*] posted on 29-3-2021 at 00:58


Could you, instead of pissing off yourself, your friends and relatives in a barrel, use just straight industrial urea to feed the bacteria to generate nitrates? Administration of urea solution to keep the concentration at desired level would also be easier, and likely less uncomfortable to proceed. Urine contains a load of of impurities apart from urea.

Only people I know who have been interested in urine recovery are the middle-ages people who wanted gunpowder, and meth heads who thought it contained enough residues to be useful.

NileRed also tested this, and obtained little to nothing useful from a gallon.
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[*] posted on 29-3-2021 at 14:09



Quote:

Could you, instead of pissing off yourself, your friends and relatives in a barrel, use just straight industrial urea to feed the bacteria to generate nitrates? Administration of urea solution to keep the concentration at desired level would also be easier, and likely less uncomfortable to proceed. Urine contains a load of of impurities apart from urea.


That was my idea essentially. Rather, with aqueous ammonia. End product being two barrels hooked together, one with 0.5-1.0% ammonia solution & minerals for the bacteria, the other with bacteria and some sterile high surface area substrate. The ammonia solution would flow through the bottom barrel, through a filter (nitrifiers form sturdy colonies and wouldn't need much convincing to filter out) and out onto a pan where the potassium nitrate (presumably the majority of the nitrates would precipitate as K+ salts from the potassium phosphate buffer). This way the predominant bacteria is nitrifying bacteria because of the lack of organic carbon (only CO2, O2, NH4, and minerals are available) and the high ammonium content.

Without any competing de-nitrifiers, the nitrifying bacteria will operate at near 100% NH4->NO3 conversion (see mahne et all on my previous post) and there will be little smell or contaminants in the salt.

Motivator for this being the wide availability of 5% ammonia solution and the ease of workup of the salt product. Even if you use urine, I would think the process of extracting ammonia to pass through such a reactor would be easier and cleaner than the alternative of a compost heap.

(PS nitrifier rich fish tank solution is readily available, so no effort would be needed to enrich a culture of random waste bacteria to higher levels of nitrifiers)
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[*] posted on 29-3-2021 at 17:51


I love this project idea there is nitrifying bacteria for fish but not for soil conditioner to mix with cow manure fertilizer for gardening. Urea and ammonia solution sounds like a good idea are the aerobic do they need a fish take bubbler.

[Edited on 30-3-2021 by symboom]
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[*] posted on 30-3-2021 at 21:24


if you must use a substrate i would advice using some type of foam that would suck up the liquid into open atmosphere, the issue with hay is that the structure becomes weak when it gets wet

i realize now that at the time i was doing the nitrifying project i was fasting so my piss was a tad extra concentrated, it did stand around in plastic jugs fermenting in the summer heat but i didnt concentrate it, i normally enjoy strong ammonia but it was just too much even for me

anyhow someone should try to pump air into a hay stack with piss, im sure this would at least supply with plenty of heat




~25 drops = 1mL @dH2O viscocity - STP
Truth is ever growing - but without context theres barely any such.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_table
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[*] posted on 31-3-2021 at 05:53


Would perlite or vulcimite in the garden section or activated silica in the cat litter section work better as a substrate
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[*] posted on 1-4-2021 at 03:14


i think the question is rather, what does the substrate really do? if it actually does anything at all.

this process is quite golden. you take human waste and turn it into something very useful, and even harder to come by year after year.
i found some old text document i got on this reaction, an approximate of 30g urea made by average adult
thats roughly 60g nitrate- in a day. this equals at 100% conversion 21.9kg of nitrate, KNO3 presumably




~25 drops = 1mL @dH2O viscocity - STP
Truth is ever growing - but without context theres barely any such.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_table
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[*] posted on 10-4-2021 at 08:25


This may have been covered - I'm lazy - French? researchers about 1906 cultivating bacteria on columns of excelsior (spiral wood shavings) with some moderate success. Low ammonia/urea concentration (< 1% IIRC) maybe 10-20% yield.
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[*] posted on 11-4-2021 at 04:55


https://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/0523/report.pdf

The Last parts are from interest for you. If you life in the USA you have small deposits in some states :D .
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