Denitrifying bacteria and phosphate

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by cobra2326, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. cobra2326

    cobra2326 Member

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    This one is really just for @BigJohnny as a response to a statement he made in another thread:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16887523

    I think the common mistake is to group denitrifying bacteria in with others that also reduce phosphate, but there is definitely evidence that some can uptake both.
     
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  2. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Partner Member 2018 Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

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    I'm not aware of any bacteria that can survive without uptaking at least some phosphate. Some just require much more phosphate to reproduce than others.
     
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  3. redfishbluefish

    redfishbluefish Stay Positive, Stay Productive Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor NJRC Member

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    Phosphorus is required in all living cells....cell membranes, protein production, in bones, and we all remember high school biology and the "fuel" for all cells...ATP. That "P" is phosphate. So everything living needs it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  4. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    The two processes mentioned in the article, denitrification and accumulation of polyphosphate, cause consumption of N and P to go above and beyond what is needed by all organisms for making of the many biomolecules that contain nitrogen and /or phosphate.

    I'm not sure anyone has ever demonstrated that polyphosphate accumulate is a substantial contributor to the phosphate cycle in reef tanks. It might be, but the one piece of evidence is this:

    When reefers drive nutrients very low with methods that reduce both N and P (especially growing organisms such as bacteria and algae), they are often left with phosphate after the nitrate runs out. That happens much more often than the other way around.

    One explanation is that there is substantial denitrification, and if there is polyphosphate accumulation, it is not typically a bigger effect than denitrification.
     
  5. BigJohnny

    BigJohnny Valuable Member

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    A thread just for me? I'm flattered lol. I think you are referring to my posts in Mr. Vs thread about how dosing biospira or dr. tims one and only would not show a reduction in nitrate or any reduction in phosphate. I still stand by that and while the link you've posted is interesting , it doesn't name the bacterial strains present in biospira or dr. tims. It is actually only about denitrifying bacteria, not the nitrifying bacteria that are present in those supplements. Nitrifying bacteria include ammonia oxidizing and nitrite oxidizing bacteria, and include Nitrosomonas, Nitrosococcus, Nitrobacter and Nitrococcus. These are the bacteria present in those products.

    I followed up my point at one point by saying that "denitrifying bacteria CANNOT reduce phosphate" but that was a typo, i meant to say nitrifying, since that is what i was talking about with biospira and dr. tims. Also, im not even sure how significant the uptake of phosphate was by those denitrifying bacteria. I dont know how to interpret those results, do you?

    The whole point of the statement was to explain to mr v. that biospira/dr.tims will process ammonia/nitrate but wouldn't show any significant reduction in nitrate or any reduction in phosphate. the only reason i said significant for nitrate and not no reduction is because it would boost the nitrogen cycle in general which could reduce nitrate indirectly( i think)
     
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  6. BigJohnny

    BigJohnny Valuable Member

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    ofcourse like @Brew12 said, all bacteria use some phosphate, but for our purposes, we would not see a reduction in phosphate tests or anything like that in the system. This is not significant. You cant drastically lower nitrate and phosphate quickly by dosing biospira or dr. tims, you can by carbon dosing.
     
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  7. Brew12

    Brew12 Electrical Gru Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Partner Member 2018 Article Contributor Build Thread Contributor North Alabama Reef Club

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    Agreed. I've seen some people advise adding nitrifying bacteria products to combat Dino's or Cyanobacteria and I don't understand that logic, either. I believe bacterial diversity can help greatly with these issues, just not nitrifying bacteria.
     
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  8. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    FWIW, reef bacteria cultures may contain more bacteria types than what they claim on the label. :)
     
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  9. BigJohnny

    BigJohnny Valuable Member

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    Haha true...........even e. coli ; )
     
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  10. Gareth elliott

    Gareth elliott Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor NJRC Member

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    Article from scientific american that touches on how hard this is to study. As well as how little data they have on the subject.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/expeditions/understanding-nitrogens-role-in-the-ocean/

    Anecdotally I would say there is usefulness in bacteria dosing for macro nutrient control as part of a detritus export plan that includes other methods to remove the compounds released from the organic breakdown. My same anecdotal experience finds this usefulness is limited in controlling an algae outbreak as opposed to a preventive measure. My belief why bacteria dosing benefits my systems anyway.
     
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  11. cobra2326

    cobra2326 Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I observed this phenomena in my own tank recently. I grow chaeto as my only active form of export and nitrate was staying at zero, with phosphate slowly rising. This is a likely explanation.

    On the flip side, once I started adding small (1ppm/day) amounts of nitrate, my phosphate crashed to undetectable levels on a Hanna ULR.

    There is definitely a delicate balance between these nutrients.
     
  12. cobra2326

    cobra2326 Member

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    Hi Randy,

    Another question: whenever I see studies about wastewater, I tend to just assume they would translate fairly well to our tanks, since the medium is similar as are the goals. What would be some reasons the results may not necessarily translate?
     
  13. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    I wouldn't have a reason to say these ideas do not translate, but there's also not a strong reason to just assume they do. Many things are different in seawater, such as the high toxicity of nitrite in freshwater that is not true in seawater. :)
     
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  14. rosshamsandwich

    rosshamsandwich Well-Known Member

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    following
     
  15. Lasse

    Lasse Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    IMO - the net effect of all heterotroph bacteria decomposition of particulate organic matter is release of inorganic P and N as PO4 and Nh4/NH3 to the water column. In nature - in sediments - the PO4 can be
    precipitated (into the sediment) by different metal ions/substances and NH4 converted to N2 through different processes masking this net effect. This net effect is the natural cycle of nutrients in a ecosystem.

    Sincerely Lasse
     
  16. rockskimmerflow

    rockskimmerflow Active Member

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    Interesting topic. @Randy Holmes-Farley - any light you may be able to shed on phosphate binding to calcium carbonate surfaces such as the massive surface area of a DSB? I've had a few customers who insist on using a DSB either in the display or in remote a refugium setting and without fail at the 2-3 year mark they all have a massive crash of their SPS followed by me getting called in to do a Hanna check of their phosphate which typically reads off the charts at 1 -2 ppm. Of course, they hadn't tested their phos for 6 months or more in most cases since it was always 0.00 for the first year they had the tank running. And they were able to feed tons of food without spiking their nitrates either. I have always suspected it's because of a DSB's denitrifying bacteria, coupled with it's massive surface area capable of sequestering phosphate up to a saturation point. Is surface binding to aragonite a significant mechanism for phosphate uptake in some cases or is there something else at play with methods like DSB's that can seemingly assimilate massive amounts of cumulative nutrient input over a few years before registering large nutrient levels in the tank water itself?
     
  17. rosshamsandwich

    rosshamsandwich Well-Known Member

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    ive had a deep sand bed for a lot longer and no crash.....
     
  18. rockskimmerflow

    rockskimmerflow Active Member

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    Ok?... I know there are people who've had them for a decade or more and not had a crash. I was asking about phosphate -aragonite substrate binding and saturation points, not claiming everyone with a DSB has a crash in 2-3 years. I shared an anecdote of the experience I've had with some of my customers. Glad you haven't had a crash. Thanks for sharing
     
  19. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    All calcium carbonate surfaces can bind phosphate, and the higher the phosphate level in the water in contact with the surface, the more will bind.

    When measured directly, the effect is staggering:

    57 ppm of phosphate can be taken up by 1 pound of rock in 5 gallons of water,leaving only 0.16 ppm in the water

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/phosphate-absorption-rates-in-aragonite.352405/page-4#post-4501532
     
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  20. cobra2326

    cobra2326 Member

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    I'm not satisfied with this reasoning. If phosphate was indeed maintained at 0.00 (whatever that means, precision to that level is often below the detection limits), then adsorption would be very slow. My understanding is that it is an equilibrium process, much like GFO. There are some calculations in the thread Randy linked to, but in order for the sand to be a "smoking gun", I would think the tank would have had to have seen significantly elevated phosphate at some point prior. One possible exception would be greatly increased local phosphate concentrations in the sand bed, but I don't know enough about that to comment on it.

    There are a lot of variables, though. Perhaps the sand was stirred accidentally, releasing nutrients into the water. Perhaps the bacterial population crashed. The list goes on.
     
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