Microcosm Studies

When our clients have questions relating to bioremediation, they call upon RespirTek™'s Microbial Communication Service™ to conduct microcosm studies (biofeasibility studies). Microbial Communication Service™ combines the best of respirometric science with environmental analytical and microbiological testing to produce highly relevant, useful and reliable data.

In addition to your unique project questions, typical project questions to be answered by a microcosm study may center on any one or combination of the following:

  • Is natural attenuation working at the site and what is the rate of contaminant degradation?
  • Which naturally occurring microbes are performing better at the site, aerobic or anaerobic?
  • Will an enhancement assist the microbes in accelerating the contaminant degradation rate?
  • Will bioaugmentation work, given the specific site characteristics?
  • What is the optimum rate of application for an enhancement or bioaugmentation product, given the specific site characteristics?

In the initial consultation, RespirTek™'s Technical Team works with the client to establish a testing design employing Microbial Communication Service™ to answer project questions. A general testing design will usually encompass all or some of the following bundles of tests:

  • Run BTEX, VOC, COD, TOC, pH and nutrients to establish baselines for matrices containing compounds such as MTBE, PCB's TCE, etc.
  • Complete time study of indigenous microbial activity using respirometry followed by COD and TOC analytical for baseline comparability.
  • Study the impact of nutrient addition using respirometry followed by BTEX, VOC, COD, TOC, and etc. analyses for baseline comparability.
  • Study the impact of specialty microbe seed addition using respirometry followed by the analytical bundles such as BTEX, VOC, COD and TOC analytical for baseline comparability.
  • Perform specific degrader plate counts (HDPC) to determine the microbe mass contained in the soil or ground water that consume the contaminant of concern.
  • Report indicating procedures and conclusions.

The respirometric part of the microcosm study can be accomplished in as little as 48 hours, depending upon objectives and site characteristics. RespirTek has significantly more capability to run more complex organic substrates per your specific needs. Contact us at 228-392-7977 to arrange for a free consultation call with our Technical Team to discuss your specific project.