Why Bacillus Species Are the Future of Odor Control

Grabage pile

Volatile Fatty Acids

The decomposition of organic matter—whether plant-based like leaves, fruit, and oil or animal-based like meat, dairy, and excrement—produces volatile fatty acids, or VFA. VFA are essential intermediates that play an important role in biodegradation, particularly in anaerobic environments, and are related to malodors.

Butyric acid, for example, is a VFA found in rancid butter. The fat molecule composed of butyric acid constitutes 3–4% of butter and, when “tied up” in the fresh product, is completely innocuous. However, once the fats start to break down, butyric acid is released and causes an unpleasant odor that is often compared to the smell of vomit and generally described as rotten. Cellulose Acetate Butyrate—a thermoplastic often used in tool handles, goggles, pens, and more—also emits butyric acid as it breaks down. Other VFA and their associated odors are summarized in the table below.

Valeric acidMusty socks, vomit
Isovaleric acidRancid cheese, sweaty socks
Acetic acidVinegar, sour wine
Propionic acidSour body odor
Isobutyric acidRancid butter
Butyric acidVomit, rancid butter

Thanks to evolution, humans are expertly equipped to detect and avoid VFA. Conversely, certain strains of bacillus actually break down and digest VFA as food, serving to eliminate odors at their source.


Exponential Growth and Metabolic Shift

If multiple forms of nutrients are available to bacilli, they begin by consuming their preferred type. When an abundance of nutrients is available, bacilli enter an exponential phase of growth. In this phase, all the cells divide at a constant rate and continue to grow by geometric progression until they have depleted their entire preferred food source.

bacilli growth ability chart

At this point, if another form of nutrient is available, the bacilli undergo a metabolic shift—even producing different enzymes—to allow them to switch to a less preferred food source. While exponential growth is suspended during this time of change, it resumes shortly thereafter, and this cycle repeats until every available nutrient has been consumed.

This ability of bacilli to adapt to many food sources make them ideal for odor control in diverse markets, as the population will continue to grow, digest, and adapt until all available organic matter, including VFA, have been utilized.


Real-World Trial

We put our bacillus-based, ultra-strong Bacteria Concentrate 4,000 B 20X HF product to the ultimate test against slews of odor-causing VFA at a 10-acre dumping site that receives 400 tons per day of garbage in various states of decay.

Prior to the trial, the incoming garbage was leveled with a bulldozer and an arbitrary odor control product was sprayed manually from a tanker twice per day, once at 2 p.m. and once at 4 p.m. According to the supervisor and operators, for the 1-year period in which they used the non-EnviroZyme product, the odor control was never consistent, and they still suffered from a persistent odor problem.

Bulldozer leveling new garbage

Bulldozer leveling new garbage

During the EnviroZyme experiment, 4 liters of Bacteria Concentrate 4,000 B 20X HF, which includes both a masking agent and an odor neutralizer for immediate odor reduction, were diluted with 2,000 liters of water in the tanker. The prepared solution was allowed to stand for 1–2 hours to enable activation, was constantly aerated by bubbling air via a pump attached to the tanker, and was similarly sprayed daily onto the garbage at 2 p.m. and again at 4 p.m. Odor was monitored 1 hour after each application for the duration of the study.

The supervisor of the dumping site, who has over 20 years of experience, confirmed substantial odor reduction 1 hour after each application, with a perceptible reduction in just 30 minutes. His co-workers and operators at the site reaffirmed this assertion and, in fact, all highly recommend Bacteria Concentrate 4,000 B 20X HF for improved odor control capability at any garbage dumpsite, thanks to the VFA-depleting power of bacillus.

Spraying of solution onto garbage

Spraying of solution onto garbage

Are you in need of a fast, effective, simple, and economical system that provides odor control consistently over time? Contact us today to identify the bacillus-based EnviroZyme solution that is right for you.

About EnviroZyme

Headquartered in Bowling Green, Ohio, EnviroZyme is a world leader in the bioaugmentation industry. We leverage the power of naturally sustainable microbial solutions to effectively solve problems for people and the planet — without sacrificing quality or performance.

Our team of expert scientists and strategists collaborate to create, blend, and package custom and off-the-shelf microbial solutions for our clients. As a cGMP-compliant, ISO-certified, and FDA-registered facility, we’re proud to boast the quality, flexibility, and scale necessary for superior craftsmanship and innovation.

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