PS Article Published in Tri-State Seminar Proceedings

An article by Heather Jennings, PE, Director of Probiotic Solutions®, has been published in Tri-State Seminars Magazine, the proceedings of the 36th Annual Tri-State Seminar held August 9–12, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nev. Ms. Jennings was a featured presenter at the seminar, which provides training and certification classes to educate water professionals from Arizona, California, and Nevada.

In her presentation and the resulting published article, titled “Lagoons, Under the Surface,” Ms. Jennings discussed the results of an in-depth investigation of bioremediation and biological factors involved in reducing sludge at a municipal wastewater treatment facility lagoon system.

A one-year bioremediation plan was implemented for a municipal wastewater treatment facility with 2 primary lagoons in which sludge depths had reached 5–7 feet. The lagoons were at risk of upset and wastewater processing capacity was reduced. Sludge levels were reported for baseline and quarterly sludge judging, supplemented with ATP and DNA analyses of the microorganism biomass. The results of the ATP and DNA analyses pointed out the often-misunderstood fact that wastewater treatment facility lagoon sludge is not inert: it is the most biologically active layer of the water column and can be efficiently controlled and reduced through proper bioremediation interventions. Sludge depth was biologically reduced by an average of 45%. This represented 17,800 dry tons of sludge that did not need to be mechanically removed and hauled to a disposal location, a potential savings of over $6 million.

The complete article can be found on pp. 28–31 of the 2-2021 issue of Tri-State Seminars Magazine at https://www.kelmanonline.com/httpdocs/files/Tri-State-Seminar/issue2-2021/index.html.

Effects of Humic Substances on Soil Microbes

By Richard Lamar, PhD
Senior Director of Humic Research
Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

Most of the work on agricultural applications of humic substances (HS) has focused on their biostimulant effects on plants. Far less work has been conducted on the effects of HS on soil microbial populations. It’s not surprising to learn, from the few studies that have been published, that HS also stimulate the growth of soil bacteria, even the bacteria that inhabit earthworm digestive tracts. One of the most important discoveries is that many species of soil bacteria are able to grow on humic acid (HA) as their sole carbon source (Tikhonov et al., 2010).

These findings have important implications for the roles played by soil bacterial communities—including those residing in the guts of soil fauna, such as earthworms—in the humification process (i.e., the process of conversion of dead plant tissues to humic substances). This means that these bacteria are consuming HS and modifying HS by metabolizing humic molecules and using the metabolized molecules to produce proteins, fats, and other types of molecules. When the bacteria die, they are in turn consumed by other microbes and those molecules created from metabolized humic molecules wind up being included as HS.

The other important piece of information that has come out of the work on bacterial-HS interactions is that, in addition to being potential carbon sources, HS can also act as soil bacterial growth stimulants or growth regulators (Tiknonov et al., 2010). This was demonstrated in a study in which a number of soil isolated bacterial species were grown on a medium that contained glucose as the carbon source (10 mg/ml) and humic acid (1 mg/ml). Thus, the humic acid was 10X lower than the glucose. Growth of the bacteria on this medium was compared with the growth of bacteria on a medium that did not contain the humic acid. The growth of 41% percent of the bacterial species (these were isolated from earthworm digestive tracts) were stimulated by the inclusion of the humic acid. The authors of the study concluded that, because the concentration of glucose was so high and the increase in available carbon from the addition of 1 mg/ml humic acid was insignificant, the humic acid acted as a growth stimulant to the 41% of bacteria whose growth was increased.

These types of studies have demonstrated that HS can stimulate the growth of plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria (aka PGPR bacteria, for which the “rhizo” stands for rhizosphere or the area of soil that is intimately associated with plant roots). One of the most well-known PGPR bacteria are Pseudomonads, strains of which have been found to be able to solubilize phosphate, produce siderophores (important for Fe uptake), ammonia, and the plant-growth-regulator auxin (Gupta, 2008; Selvakumar et al., 2009).

REFERENCES

Gupta, A. and M. Gopal. 2008. Siderophore production by plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. Indian J. Agric. Res. 42(2):153–156.

Salvakumar, G., P. Joshi, S. Nazim, P. K. Mishra, J. K. Bisht and H. S. Gupta. 2009. Phosphate solubilization and growth promotion by Pseudomonas fragi CS11RH1 (MTCC8984), a psychrotolerant bacterium isolated from a high-altitude Himalayan rhizosphere. Biologia, 64(2)239-245

Tikhonov, V. V., A. V. Yakushev, Y. A. Zavgorodnyaya, B. A. Byzov, and V. V. Demin. 2010. Effect of humic acids on the growth of bacteria.  European Soil Science, 43 (3):305–313.

BHN Hosts PFAS Training for Water and Wastewater Plant Operators

Bio Huma Netics hosted a 6-hour PFAS training seminar on February 23, 2022. Co-Sponsored by the Rural Water Association of Arizona, the event provided education on the problem of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in water.

Speakers at the event included Heather Jennings, PE, Director of Probiotic Solutions®, Cathy Swanson, West Regional Sales Manager and Groundwater Remediation Specialist at Purolite, and Marci Payne, Sales and Marketing Director at Legend Technical Services of Arizona. An Operator’s panel discussion was led by Jim Huchel, Wastewater Treatment Manager for the City of Flagstaff, and Henry Cornejo, Wastewater Treatment Program Manager at Rural Water Association of Arizona. Professional Development Hours were awarded to the 27 attendees.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS are widely used, long lasting manufactured chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time. Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in water and a variety of food products. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to PFAS may be linked to a variety of harmful health effects in humans and animals.

The BHN Product Quality Assurance Process

In this video, we show the scientific steps we take to make sure that all our Huma Gro®, Fertilgold Organics®, and Probiotic Solutions® liquid products are built according to specifications, are consistent from batch to batch, and are of the highest quality.

Heather Jennings Is Featured Guest on “Better Together” Podcast

Paper360, a bimonthly magazine for the pulp & paper industry, produces a podcast called “Better Together: Conversations With Innovative Leaders.” At a recent podcast recorded live at SuperCorrExpo in Orlando, Fla., Heather Jennings, Director of Probiotic Solutions and Host of our own Water Break Podcast, was interviewed on the topic of diversity and innovation for the corrugated industry. Heather is Emeritus Chair of TAPPI’s Women in Industry Committee.

The mission of the TAPPI Women in Industry Committee is to “Inspire and support the development of women in the forest products, pulp, paper, tissue, packaging and associated industries by serving as a resource for education and networking opportunities, that result in more women leaders in the industry, fostering overall industry health.”

Here’s a link to the podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1295744/9397632-paper360-better-together-supercorrexpo-live-part-2.

Video: Mixing Liquid Humic Acid with Agrochemicals

This video demonstrates how to mix liquid humic acids, such as Huma Pro® 16, with liquid fertilizers without creating precipitation that can gum up spray or irrigation equipment. [Read more…]

The Water Break Podcast Hits 3,000 Downloads

Back in May of 2020, we started talking about doing a water-and-wastewater-focused podcast that Heather Jennings would host. Heather had never done anything like hosting a podcast, and she wasn’t sure that she should. “Do you think anyone would listen?” she asked.

We did, and we started mapping out the campaign. Heather insisted that the podcasts be educational in nature, with an emphasis on “bridging the gap between water plant operators and engineers.” As an engineer, she knew that a great deal of education was needed to bridge that gap. We all agreed that, to be viable, we needed to produce at least one podcast a month. This was a lot to ask of the host and all her potential guests, bringing up Heather’s second question: “Do you think anyone will agree to talk with me?”

Last week we recorded our 18th Water Break podcast in 18 months, and this week the statistics report from Blubrry, our podcast hosting service, let us know that we had reached the milestone of 3,000 downloads. We realize that 3,000 isn’t a huge number when compared with more commercial podcasts, but for an educational podcast in the water and wastewater treatment niche, it’s a great accomplishment.

Something else that amazes us is the world-wide reach that podcasting can have. We knew that our largest audiences would be in the U.S. and Canada, but who would have thought that our third-largest audience would be in India, and our fourth and fifth in South Africa and Saudi Arabia. All told, we’ve had listeners from 57 countries, with some surprises such as Bangladesh and Northern Mariana Islands.

And so far, there have been 27 guests willing to voluntarily share their knowledge, experience, and lessons learned with the rest of the water-and-wastewater-treatment community through this podcast. They do it because they believe that water treatment is a calling, an opportunity to do something good for our local environments and our planet as a whole. But before you start thinking that these people and topics are TOO serious, you need only listen to a couple of the episodes to hear the joy and laughter that comes out. Who knew wastewater treatment could be so funny? (Apparently, anyone who has ever worked in a wastewater treatment plant!)

We take this opportunity to thank all those guests who have helped to provide over 3,000 hours of free education about water and wastewater processes and all those guests who will continue to share their knowledge through this podcast in the future.

Congratulations to everyone who has participated in helping The Water Break Podcast achieve 3,000 downloads!

To view and listen to the 18 podcast episodes, click here, or subscribe to The Water Break Podcast through your favorite podcasting service.

Global Fertilizer Day Is October 13

Join us in celebrating the world’s farmers. They have set themselves the almost impossible task of feeding more and more people while using less land and fewer resources.

In the next 30 years, the world’s population will increase by almost 50%. Add to that the fact that in the last 40 years, the world has lost a third of its arable land due to erosion or pollution, and additional millions of acres of farmland are being lost each year to industrialization and urbanization. Already, an estimated 25,000 people are dying from hunger each day. With little possibility of further expansion of agricultural land, there is pressure to produce more food on the existing arable land by using soil treatment products and fertilizers.

Fertilizer producers continue to stand ready to help farmers be more effective and efficient in food production. Agricultural fertilizers currently account for 50% of global food production. As fertilizers and farming practices improve, the goal of producing more with less is already being realized. Farmers today grow a bushel of corn using 45% less nitrogen and 59% less phosphate than they did in 1980. Yet, yields continue to improve. Between 1948 and 2015, the average U.S. soybean yield doubled from about 21 to 48 bushels per acre, while the average corn yield grew much more, from 43 to 168 bushels per acre.

Bio Huma Netics—through its fertilizer brands of Huma Gro® and Fertilgold® Organics, along with its natural humates from Mesa Verde Humates®—is committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with farmers as they strive to feed the world’s population by growing more with less.

Read more about Global Fertilizer Day at https://www.tfi.org/GlobalFertilizerDay#get-involved.

Celebrating the Life of Jason Garcia

We lost Jason Garcia this week, his life cut short way too soon.

When Jason joined BHN as an agronomist in 2019, it was apparent early on that we had hired a special guy. Jason was ENTHUSIASTIC! Always. You just couldn’t have a conversation with Jason without hearing a great story about someone in his family, about a good friend or customer in Plant City, Fla., or about something special that had happened in a customer’s field.

Last year we put out an internal Employee Spotlight on Jason, which had this to say: [Read more…]

Research Report: Fertilgold® 3-2-4 and Micros I Liquid Fertilizers Increase Organic Cantaloupe Yield 120%

In this study of Fertilgold® Organics macronutrient (Fertilgold® 3-2-4) and micronutrient (Fertilgold® Micros I) liquid products compared with a grower’s standard treatment on organic cantaloupes applied under field conditions in Arizona, the Fertilgold® Organics treatment powered by a proprietary Micro Carbon Technology® resulted in a 120% yield increase with a 3-to-1 return on investment (ROI).

The research, conducted by Helena Agri-Enterprises at The University of Arizona Yuma Agricultural Center, was conducted as a randomized complete block design with five replications. Each replication consisted of 30 feet long by 80 inches wide beds. Treatments were applied to cantaloupe (Cucumis melo cantaloupensis) cultivar ‘Caribbean gold.’

Read the complete report here.

For more information on Fertilgold® Organics products, click here.

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