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Microbial Inoculation

How Microbes work…

Simply stated, microbes or bacteria are composed of cells within an outer wall.  Bacterial bodies resemble car tyres with inner tubes.  The inner tube represents the actual bacterial cell.  Unlike a tyre casing, the bacterial cell is porous, allowing most molecules access to the cell body.  The outer casing with tread represents the outer bacterial cell wall.

Bacteria don’t have mouths.  The outer membrane of the actual cell allows smaller molecules easier access, while keeping larger molecules out.  Nutrients must therefore be converted to relatively small molecules that can pass through the porous wall to get absorbed into the cell body. Bacteria carry out this breakdown by producing enzymes that they can excrete into the surrounding liquid.  Each specific enzyme carries out the breakdown of specific molecules to simpler ones, so ultimately, the bacteria can get lots of smaller nutrients into the cells.

For example, a fat degrading enzyme may be produced inside the bacterial cell, pass through the wall to the outside, and enable a fat molecule that is too big to pass into the cell to be broken down to smaller subunits that can pass into the cell.  For the most part, bacteria begin the digestion of food outside their bodies through the use of enzymes.

Microbes and enzymes explained…..

Enzymes are proteins that speed up reactions.

Enzyme products contain proteins usually produced by microorganisms that enhance some specific degradation.  The enzymes may be separated from the microbes that produced them – at any rate, they are usually the only beneficial component in the enzyme product.

All enzymes are proteins and proteins are good nutrient sources for bacteria.  Although enzymes are good at the breakdown of complex molecules into useable nutrients, they themselves can serve as a source of nutrients.

In a wastewater treatment system, enzymes have a limited life span due to the fact that they can be quickly degraded.  The resident bacteria quickly degrade powdered enzymes placed into a wastewater treatment system before they have an opportunity to work.

If on the other hand, we add living bacteria that can produce the type of enzymes we need for specialised degradation (e.g. fat degraders), then even if some of these enzymes are degraded, the bacteria will continue to produce them as long as the food (fat) is available.  In essence, we are putting in the enzyme factories, not just the enzymes.