EnviroZyme Blog
Blog
ez-samp2
  • Water Pollution, Part 3: Agricultural Runoff

    Jul 26, 2019

    Agriculture

    Agriculture and Fertilizers
    Agriculture helped give rise to civilization itself and for 2,000 years, the cultivation of crops has kept humankind alive and nourished. Improvements in technology and techniques have greatly increased crop yields, including the use of fertilizers. The widespread use of manufactured fertilizers in more recent history, however, has disturbed the environment, and the contamination of water supplies by these chemicals looms large as a direct threat to us and to other species.

    According to the United States EPA, agriculture is the nation’s leading cause of impaired water quality. While industrial and municipal wastewater management is highly regulated and generally very effective at removing nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from water leaving food factories, our homes, etc., farm runoff is not regulated at present and is the largest source of nutrient loading in our waterways.

    The Consequences of Nutrient Loading
    Nitrogen serves as food and is considered the most important nutrient for plants; phosphorous is required for normal development and the use and storage of energy; potassium protects the plant from disease and adverse conditions. All three are essential for life and are absorbed by plants (via their roots) from the soil. As the 3 most essential nutrients to plants, they are of course the 3 main nutrients in fertilizer—often referred to as NPK—used when the soil is deficient. When fertilizing compounds are applied too heavily for fields to absorb them, they will run off and end up in our lakes, streams, and rivers. 

    Bloom

    Dead Fish

    In much the same way that it fertilizes land plants, if allowed to enter our water system, NPK fertilizes aquatic plants (like duckweed) and algae, often resulting in the proliferation of problematic amounts. For algae, this is commonly referred to as an algal bloom. When the plants that constitute these overgrowths die and decay, they are biodegraded by bacteria, which depletes oxygen in the water. As a result of reduced oxygen levels, marine life dies and the door is opened to new species invasion, both of which decrease biodiversity and cause significant harm. If, in an algal bloom, the strains produce toxins, the problem is further reaching, and toxicity can climb its way up the food chain. For humans, the water becomes non-potable and may become unfit even for recreation.

    Forging Solutions and How We Fit in
    Biotechnology in agriculture is an exciting application, one that is attracting investment by industrial and academic research centers to ensure clean and safe water. EnviroZyme® currently has customers that are utilizing our microorganisms in agriculture to displace or reduce the need for traditional fertilizers and pesticides. Bacteria can also be used to convert the nitrogen in the air into a nutrient source for row crops, decreasing the nutrient loads in the fields and reducing runoff.

    microbiologist

    Possible applications include treating contaminated waterways in the same manner that decorative ponds, storm water systems, and municipal lagoons are treated today. With competitive exclusion, beneficial bacteria consume excess nutrients, so they cannot be consumed by harmful plants and algae, effectively “starving” them. Another possibility is the use of one or more bacterial strains to inhibit the formation of toxic strains, or to consume or metabolically modify the toxins they produce.

    Kids Drinking

    The entire EnviroZyme team places the utmost value and focus on developing solutions to meet the needs of a growing population while protecting our environment for future generations, and we are proud to serve the agricultural industry in service of this goal.

    Interested in finding out more about how our bacteria can help? Contact customer service by filling out the form here or call 1-800-232-2847.

  • EnviroZyme® Is Now ISO 9001:2015 Certified!

    Jun 13, 2019

    ISO_9001-2015

    Recently, EnviroZyme® achieved our ISO 9001:2015 certification following an intensive registration process and audit. This momentous achievement is a direct reflection of our relentless commitment to our customers in providing them with biological products and services of the highest possible quality, reliability, and safety.

    What is ISO?

    ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. It is an independent, non-governmental organization that develops and publishes “voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.”

    ISO 9001 is the world’s most well-known quality management standard for companies and organizations of any size. While all ISO standards aim to ensure the safety, reliability, and quality of products and services provided—enhancing customer satisfaction as a result—ISO 9001:2015 also places particular emphasis on a process approach when developing, implementing, and improving the effectiveness of a quality management system.

    The quality management principles that guide ISO 9001:2015 certification are:

    • Customer Focus
    • Leadership
    • Engagement of People
    • Process Approach
    • Improvement
    • Evidence-Based Decision Making
    • Relationship Management

    Proving strict adherence to these principles and the resulting positive gains for quality, safety, reliability, and customer satisfaction was not an easy feat. From overhauling protocols in the environment for the operation of processes to producing extensive documented information, from monitoring and measuring resources to instituting and conducting process analyses, countless internal strides were taken over the course of months in preparation. After a successful audit, we were registered under ISO 9001:2015.

    What Does Certification Mean for You and Our Customers?

    In order to fulfill our mission of being a global leader in microbial fermentation, manufacturing, and packaging, we here at EnviroZyme® place the utmost value on the quality of the biological products and services that we provide to our customers. ISO Certification places us among the best-ranking and most reputable organizations in their respective industries.

    As evidenced by our ISO 9001:2015 achievement, we recognize the importance of and have invested heavily in the continual improvement of the quality systems that guarantee product consistency, product quality, and complete customer satisfaction. When you choose EnviroZyme, you can rest assured that you have selected a company that puts the customer first.

    Whether liquid, powder, or solid form, whether for waste water treatment, soil remediation, probiotics, or hard surface cleaning, you can trust that each and every biological product and service from EnviroZyme will perform as or better than promised, each and every time.

  • Water Pollution, Part 2: Household Wastewater Treatment

    May 10, 2019

    Wastewater Treatment

    The Water Used in Our Homes
    Our last blog post examined water pollution as a result of specialization in industry, specifically in the food industry. For many of the same reasons that food production is concentrated into large, specialized factories, people tend to congregate in large cities. When people live closely together, they enjoy benefits such as near proximity to jobs, food, healthcare, and entertainment.

    Unfortunately, high population density areas are accompanied by high concentrations of water contaminants. Beyond elevated levels of industry in high population density areas, one very significant source of water pollution in urban—and to a somewhat lesser degree suburban—areas is our homes.

    From kitchens to bathrooms to laundry rooms, we use water for many things in our homes. In almost all cases, we add suspended or dissolved solids to the water before sending it to the drain. Examples include soap and soils from our laundry washing machines, shampoo and soils from our shower, and soap and food from dishwashers. As can be seen from this water use pie chart, about 80% of the water we purchase is loaded to some degree with solids while we use it, and then it is sent down the drain. Because these solids can harm plants and animals, and because they eventually end up in our drinking water, they must be removed by wastewater treatment plants.

    oneWater_piegraph_and_data
    Graphic courtesy of jea.com.

    The Water Leaving Our Homes
    For approximately 80% of Americans, wastewater is flushed through your home’s pipes until it reaches a local sewer main. Through a combination of gravity and the use of grinder-pumps and/or lift stations, wastewater flows into progressively larger pipes until it reaches a treatment plant.

    sewer-pumps
    Grinder-pumps or lift stations may be used when gravity will not suffice to move wastewater.

    Both treatment plants and sewer systems themselves are owned and operated by city and town sewer departments.

    At the Wastewater Treatment Plant
    Once at the wastewater treatment plant, wastewater goes through one or more stages of treatment, depending on the particular plant. At the beginning of the process, during pretreatment, large objects and sometimes grit are removed from the wastewater before it proceeds.

    sewer-screen
    Screens help remove large objects during pretreatment.

    Primary Treatment
    The first stage, primary treatment, consists of water sitting in tanks, also known as clarifiers, until solids settle out as sludge and sink to the bottom, and grease and oils rise to the top. Both the sludge and the grease and oils are collected and disposed of. Primary treatment removes up to 60% of solids but very few toxic chemicals.

    sewer-primary
    Water sits in tanks, or clarifiers, during primary treatment.

    Secondary Treatment
    At most facilities in the U.S., wastewater will go on to secondary treatment. During secondary treatment, bacteria consume the remaining, smaller organic materials in aerated tanks. The secondary treatment system is also known as the activated sludge system, aeration basin, or oxidation ditch.

    sewer-aerate
    Aeration in tanks assists bacteria with digestion of organic materials.

    Federal regulations require removal of 85% or more of the suspended solids and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) during secondary treatment. A significant proportion of toxic chemicals are also removed during this process. After secondary treatment, the water often (but not always) flows to clarifiers to sit again, but this time until the bacteria settle out.

    sewer-secondary
    Bacteria often settle out in a secondary clarifier.

    The beauty of microbiological treatment is that the bacteria, once they eat the organic matter, internalize the dissolved solids and are big enough to coagulate and flocculate in the clarifier. Otherwise, dissolved solids would remain in wastewater indefinitely, as it is not possible for them to settle out independently.

    Tertiary Treatment
    At more sophisticated treatment plants, wastewater will go on to tertiary treatment, which removes nitrogen, phosphorous, and/or other residual matter to further improve the effluent quality. The methods employed in tertiary treatment vary widely and can include the use of chemicals, synthetic membranes, filter beds, etc.

    sewer-final
    Tertiary treatment in Libertyville, IL.

    Chlorination
    If wastewater is chlorinated or otherwise disinfected before discharge, that always occurs last, regardless of which stage treatment ends with. Not all wastewater is disinfected, and not all wastewater is treated beyond the first stage.

    sewer-chlorination
    Chlorination in a tank is always the last step before discharge.

    How We Fit in
    EnviroZyme is proud to offer solutions in the form of various microbial products and technical support to help city and town wastewater treatment plants facilitate more effective and efficient secondary and tertiary treatment.

    During secondary treatment, adding more bacteria that are specifically selected for their ability to consume fats, oil, grease, protein, sugar, carbohydrates, and cellulose helps the wastewater treatment plant operator meet their pollution reduction objectives. By increasing the number of bacteria through the addition of products like WWT 5B Brown, WWT 2B Blue, WWT 2B Brown, and WWT 5B Blue, we alter the food-to-mass ratio in a way that more food is consumed.

    Our nitrifier product line, based on Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter strains, can assist with the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and nitrate. This conversion is a necessary precursor for the conversion of dissolved nitrogen solids over to nitrogen gas, which evaporates. The conversion of dissolved nitrogen solids (e.g. nitrite and nitrate) to nitrogen gas (N2) is called denitrification and occurs in tertiary treatment. We can assist our customers with their management of dissolved nitrogen pollutants with products such as Ammonia Reducer NH3 and Ammonia Reducer NS.

    Photographs courtesy of photos.innersource.com.

  • Water Pollution, Part 1: Specialization in the Food Industry

    Apr 04, 2019

    Food Factory

    In modern food factories, foodstuffs are processed at staggering paces: 120 birds per minute at Tyson, 500,000 pizzas per day at Tombstone, 90,000 hogs per week at Smithfield.  

    The undeniable efficiency of these companies and countless others is a direct result of specialization within the food industry; indeed, production processes have been increasingly concentrated into relatively small locations since the invention of canning and the subsequent proliferation of large-scale food production during the 19th century. By utilizing the same or similar raw materials to make large quantities of a single finished product, producers realize lower production costs per unit, and the consumer enjoys lower prices.

    For all the economic benefits, however, the concentration of production processes inherently leads to concentration of the by-products of food processing, which are released from food factories into the environment through various pathways. Because these releases can contain components that are detrimental to the health of factories’ immediate surroundings and the health of the globe as a whole, they are generally regarded as pollutants and are subject to regulations administered by the EPA and other more localized agencies.

    One such pathway for the release of detrimental by-products is wastewater, of which enormous amounts are generated through food processing in particular. Two regulated and commonly elevated metrics of wastewater discharged from food factories are biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS). BOD refers to the amount of dissolved oxygen that must be present for microorganisms to decompose organic matter in the water, while TSS refers to the weight of solids in water that could be captured by filtering. If left untreated, wastewater with high levels of BOD and TSS will wreak havoc on the environment by lowering oxygen levels to the point of eutrophication, for example, which can kill aquatic life including fish, amphibians, and plants.

    To avoid the negative environmental outcomes associated with BOD, TSS, and other elements of wastewater that are compounded by industrial specialization, the EPA requires municipalities and industrial sites to treat their wastewater prior to discharge into a receiving stream. BOD and TSS from food factories, in particular, are best treated with the introduction of targeted microorganisms. EnviroZyme is proud to serve this industry by providing high-quality microbial products and application expertise, helping meet or exceed standards set forth by water authorities and furthering progress toward the national goal established by the Clean Water Act of “eliminating the discharge of all pollutants.”

  • Enzymes vs. Bacteria, Unmuddying the Waters

    Mar 20, 2019

    Bacteria vs. Enzymes

    What Are Enzymes?
    Enzymes are large molecules, mostly proteins, that speed up chemical reactions. Scientists have determined that enzymes are able to catalyze, or speed up, over 5,000 specific chemical reactions.

    Appropriately, the substances on which enzymes act are called “substrates,” and the molecules produced as a result are called “products.” Which substrate an enzyme acts on is dependent upon the unique three-dimensional shape of each enzyme.

     Substrate  Enzyme
     Fat, Oil, Grease  Lipase
     Paper  Cellulase
     Starch  Amylase
     Protein  Protease






    Enzymes are not living organisms, but they are produced by cells in living organisms in order to help convert food to energy, build compounds, or remove wastes quickly enough to sustain life.

    Enzymes and Bacteria

    Bacteria are one-celled organisms that require food (and the vitamins therein), oxygen, water, and appropriate temperatures in order to survive, just like humans. Different bacterial strains will produce different amounts and types of enzymes in order to speed up the break down of complex substrates, and then consume the smaller, simpler products as food.

    If bacteria did not create enzymes, complex substrates would take too long to disintegrate into consumable products, and the bacteria would not be able to eat enough in a short enough period of time to survive and reproduce.

    Bacteria and Waste

    The complex substrates that enzymes act on and bacteria then consume include waste compounds that pollute the environment, such as those listed in the table above. Even substrates that sound relatively harmless, like starch, can and do wreak havoc on the planet and its inhabitants.

    Biological remediation is a process through which safe bacteria are selected for the enzymes they produce and are purposefully introduced in a given location in order to remove a specific harmful waste. During this process, bacteria and enzymes work hand-in-hand, and the byproducts of digestion are more bacteria, water, and carbon dioxide, which are natural and inherently harmless. The bacteria continue to reproduce until the bacteria’s food is eliminated.

    bacteria enzymes waste

    EnviroZyme is proud to pave the way to a more sustainable future by providing products that facilitate biological remediation. In addition to more than 20 off-the-shelf bacterial strains, we are also able to custom ferment bacterial strains to suit individual waste-elimination needs.

  • Taking Quality to the Highest Level: Our Zero-Defects Policy

    Jan 18, 2019

    Blog-Image_Zero-Defect

    We strive to create a Zero-Defect product and believe that truly sustainable solutions need to be created right the first time. Our Zero-Defects Policy implements real solutions to make that happen.

    When we say that it’s the EnviroZyme mission to deliver higher standards, we’re not kidding. In fact, we strive to create a Zero-Defect product for our customers. We believe that truly sustainable solutions need to be created right the first time. That’s why we invest in up-front quality control measures.

    While some choose to believe that mistakes are inevitable, we choose to believe that perfection is not only possible but also required, given the importance of what we produce and the importance of our customers. Our Zero-Defects Policy implements real solutions to make that happen. For example,

    • We test for several pathogenic bacteria.
    • We maintain retain samples to ensure we constantly monitor stability.
    • We make sure every step is documented and checked over by management prior to release.

    We believe in four basic principles:

    1. Quality is conformance to requirements.
    2. Defect prevention is preferable to quality inspection and correction.
    3. Zero Defects is the quality standard.
    4. Quality is measured in monetary terms — the Price of Nonconformance.

    EnviroZyme’s commitment starts with our new state-of-the-art facility, and it continues through release. Each EnviroZyme process is deliberate, designed to trace each defect back to its root cause. Each cause is then prevented. We operate a multi-stage quality control plan. Via a thorough screening against pathogenic bacteria, our quality control process then ensures that no strain goes untested and no defect goes untraced. It ensures our customers know they’re getting the highest quality strain available.

    EnviroZyme’s facility also has a very meticulous HAACP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan, and adheres to the US Food and Drug Administration’s cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) standards.

    As you can see, EnviroZyme and quality are synonymous because our customers are more than customers. They’re partners. The EnviroZyme commitment allows our customers to enjoy peace of mind, knowing they’re in trusted hands. From our agriculture to our wastewater treatment, from our janitorial and sanitary products to our custom designed biologicals, EnviroZyme strives to set a higher standard.

  • Why It’s Good to be Compliant. cGMP Compliant.

    Dec 15, 2018

    Blog-Image_cGMP

     

    We’re proud to be cGMP compliant. From our growth conditions to the strain production, our specialized teams follow protocols that ensure a quality product for every customer, every time.

    EnviroZyme’s mission is to set a higher standard — we’re committed to ensuring the products that bear the EnviroZyme name are the very best. From our growth conditions to the strain production, our specialized teams follow protocols that ensure a quality product for every customer, every time. But you don’t have to simply take our word for it. We’re cGMP compliant.

    What is cGMP?

    cGMP stands for Current Good Manufacturing Practices and is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration as the main standard for manufacturing microbial biosolutions. Because it’s well-known, it’s one of the certifications that give our customers peace of mind. They can be assured that every EnviroZyme process is properly documented, designed, monitored and controlled. Giving our customers that peace of mind is vital to EnviroZyme’s mission of delivering a higher standard.

    To be compliant, our equipment must be up-to-date, our staff highly trained and qualified, and our processes reliable and reproducible.

    We must establish

    • Strong quality management systems
    • Obtain appropriate quality raw materials
    • Establish robust operating procedures
    • Detect and investigate product quality deviations
    • Maintain reliable testing laboratories

    For an in-depth explanation of regulations, please click here.

    Why is cGMP important?

    Before we can claim a higher standard, we have to start at the baseline. cGMP compliance is that established baseline. Having a third-party independent group inspect and test our operations not only keeps us compliant, but it also keeps us on the cutting-edge of innovation. Plus, cGMP compliance is well known and trusted to ensure consistency of the products – same process, same products, same results.

    While we create all biologicals at the highest possible standards, EnviroZyme services the agriculture, aquaculture and wastewater treatment industries. cGMP compliancy was developed to ensure biologicals are safe for use in our food and water. Every decision made reflects our mission of delivering products for our customers that meet a higher standard, the EnviroZyme standard.

    Why does EnviroZyme Value cGMP Compliance?

    EnviroZyme products are designed and literally grown to tackle some of the toughest cleaning, bioremediation, nutrient absorption and several other challenges. We strive to instill confidence in our customers with a consistent product they can trust and count on that’s supported by our processes and cGMP compliance. It’s our responsibility, and we take it seriously.

    EnviroZyme’s very existence relies upon creating highest quality biologicals, and cGMP compliancy is the first step in our ensuring that happens. But we take it even further, and we strive to create zero-defect products. Read more about that here.

  • At EnviroZyme, Quality Matters

    Oct 16, 2018

    Blog-Image_Quality-Matters

    Quality means we hold ourselves to a higher standard - it’s part of our mission. We produce biologicals that perform at optimal levels every time, because our customers’ needs are EnviroZyme needs.

    Quality is a word thrown around a lot by companies. After all, it’s important in all industries. But for EnviroZyme, it’s more than a buzzword — it’s part of our mission. We take it personally, considering it at every level.

     

    What does quality mean?

    For us, it means we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Ensuring our customers’ peace of mind is vital. From our state-of-the-art facility to our expert teams, from the complex fermentation process to individual customer projects, the EnviroZyme higher standard of quality is evident. We produce biologicals that perform at optimal levels every time, because our customers’ needs are EnviroZyme needs. Our custom fermentation processes are rooted in science and backed by our commitment to getting the job done right the first time.

    Our strain production delivers:

    • A product that targets specific problems
    • Correct bacteria counts
    • High-yielding bacterial performance
    • Consistency of bacterial growth

    Why is quality important?

    Our industry is unique in that it takes the very best of science and creates innovative solutions to solve the basic yet challenging need of cleaning in a way that doesn’t cause harm to the environment or to living creatures. Only a high-quality operation can deliver solutions that are effective. Only EnviroZyme strives for a higher standard, because every decision we make is driven by meeting the needs of our customers, ensuring we present them with the highest quality product available.

    We are compliant.

    To help ensure a higher standard of quality for our customers, EnviroZyme is Current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMP compliant. Regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, cGMP compliancy is the main standard for manufacturing microbial biosolutions. To be compliant, our equipment must be properly validated, our staff highly trained and qualified, and our processes reliable and reproducible. Learn more about cGMP here.

    Just the beginning.

    We don’t stop at compliancy, though. We’re committed to setting a higher standard and producing the highest quality biologicals. In fact, we strive for zero-defect.

  • Aiming for Zero-Defect

    Aug 28, 2018

    Blog-Image_Aiming-for-Zero

    We know the products we create affect our customers end results. That’s why we hold ourselves to a higher standard, taking pride in our mission to develop products at the highest quality possible.

    In every industry, defects cost time, money and quality. In the world of fermentation and microbial solutions, even the smallest defect can be the difference between a prosperous crop and a field of spoiled product. That's where EnviroZyme comes into play.

     

    We know the products we create affect our customers end results and the work they do every day. That's why we hold ourselves to a higher standard, taking pride in our mission to develop environmentally friendly products at the highest quality possible. It's engrained in who we are as a company and what we stand for.

    We take defect prevention for quality biosolutions seriously and believe that it all starts with the fermenter grower. That's what makes EnviroZyme unique: we start the process by growing our own strains.

    From the very beginning to the very end, EnviroZyme controls the microbial fermentation process. It’s who we are and it’s what we do. No strain goes untested and no defect goes untraced. Our commitment to quality and strive for a zero-defect product is what drives our processes forward – producing the very best biosolutions.

    What does a quality process include?
    At EnviroZyme, quality biosolutions start at the very beginning - growing. Each strain is tested using 16s or genomic sequencing. We streak each seed out on multiple plates to ensure that there are no hidden contaminants.

    From there, we transfer bacteria cultures to pre-sterilized flasks to inoculate pre-sterilized fermenters.

    During fermentation, EnviroZyme controls the pH, DO, agitation and air flow. Once fermentation is complete, we pasteurize the bacteria culture and send it through a centrifuge, which is a machine that rapidly rotates its contents to spin out the water.

    EnviroZyme then dries the spore slurry and runs it through a series of Quality Control tests including:

    • Spore counts
    • Tests against pathogenic bacteria

    How is quality ensured?
    EnviroZyme documents each and every step per current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) standards. This not only holds EnviroZyme accountable and compliant, but instills confidence in our customers that they are receiving a consistent and reliable product. Our meticulous process is tedious, but it holds us to a higher standard and ensures that we are providing the highest quality products to our customers every single time.

Categories

Recent Posts