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Custom Micro-Consortium Proves that Citrus-Extract Chemical Cleaner &
Its Extracted Pollution Could Be Biodegraded Together

In mid-1985, innovative polymer researcher, Dr. Syed Ali of Solutions Chemical Consultants collaborated with the research staff at Alken-Murray Corporation's New York laboratory to completely reformulate Alken-Murray's citrus degreasing product, from a d-Limonene/petroleum solvent/glycol ether base into a water soluble formula that keeps its 35% d-Limonene in solution by use of a carefully balanced blend of emulsifying surfactants. Despite decades of research, including analysis of our formula, NO competitor has been able to produce a stable water-based degreasing cleaner, which can duplicate the concentration or performance of Alken Citrus Degreaser 872. Since its inception, Dr. Ali gave this product a myriad of names to differentiate alternative applications he discovered for it, but its best known for its most "novel" application, where it is prescribed under the name Solutions Special X3™, applied as the first step in his remediation projects addressing spilled PCBs. After impounding the PCB contaminated soil into a concrete containment pit, Dr. Ali added one-half (1/2) to one (1) gallon of Solutions Special X3™ per 1 Kg of PCB contaminated soil, adding sufficient warm water (above 16 degrees C) to produce a water layer that rises four (4) to six (6) inches above the PCB contaminated soil in the pit, while keeping the entire contents of the pit below 60% of the total capacity of the pit, to avoid any spillage during treatment. For this treatment to work properly, temperature must be maintained above 16 degrees C (60.8 degrees F) during both the initial three (3) hours of mixing and stirring necessary to achieve a uniform slurry of PCB-contaminated soil, water and the Solutions Special X3™, treatment. Once a uniform mixture was achieved, Dr. Ali applied a small "booster dosage" just before increasing the blending speed for the final 1 to 2 hours of treatment, until an amber-colored liquid becomes apparent at the air-liquid interface, releasing a distinctly phenolic odor which indicates the end of this phase of treatment. Tests for the presence of PCBs, phenolics and PAH (Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons) at this point in the second case study, the test results delivered to Dr. Ali by the independent laboratory were as follows:


  1. PCB's - 0.0 ppm for each of 4 samples, but one sample showed 0.27 ppm.
  2. Phenolics: 2 - 5 ppm, depending on area from which sample was taken
  3. PAH: 0.1 to 0.54 ppm, depending on area from which sample was taken Naphthalene was the PAH with highest reported value of 0.5, while Phenanthrene tested at0.44

With great effort, the head microbiologist at Alken-Murray's New York lab managed to convince Dr. Ali to test a custom micro-consortium, containing a trio of phenol-degrading strains of Pseudomonas putida, a trio that serves today as the foundation for Alken Clear-Flo 7002. At this point, Dr. Ali began to insist on applying Alken Clear-Flo 7001, our cold-weather municipal wastewater treatment formula, which captured Dr. Ali's extreme loyalty when its addition enabled another custom-blend to deliver significantly reduced PAHs in accumulated wood-preserving wastewater. That custom blend contained the fully formulated Alken Clear-Flo 7002, a five-strain consortium, at the time,, in comparison to our current formula, which contains 10 strains, but it was supplemented by two strains of Naphthalene and Anthracene-degrading Pseudomonas aeruginosa and one Pseudomonas fluorescens strain that targeted Fluoranthene and Phenanthrene. When it became apparent that cold temperatures were inhibiting the Wood-waste custom-consortium, Dr. Ali added an equal dosage of Alken Clear-Flo 7001, our treatment designed for municipal wastewater during cold temperatures. Fortunately, the key "cold bugs" are as comfortable digesting phenol in industrial wastewater, as they are digesting sewage and food waste in municipal wastewater, enabling the combined consortium to deliver desired results, along with Dr. Ali's loyalty to the key cold-temperature strains.

Just as Dr. Ali was ready to begin the bioremediation phase of treatment using Alken-Murray's "custom phenolics consortium" to digest the residual phenolics and PAHs removed from the PCB-contaminated soil by the  Solutions Special X3™ water-based citrus cleaner, the official monitoring the site began questioning ingredients in the Solutions Special X3™ itself, especially pointing to the 'Sodium Dioctyl Sulfosuccinate", which is the active ingredient in a well-known "over-the-counter" stool softener, marketed as Colace® , which is apparently the same chemical that an old chemist was using as a super-wetting- agent to cause fleas to drown, while he avoided following through with full FIFRA registration and toxicity testing, drawing unwanted attention to others using this same safe and mild surfactant at the moment Dr. Ali needed to complete his project . An independent EPA laboratory confirmed that Solutions Special X3™ was fully degraded by Alken-Murray's"phenolics custom consortium" within an accepted timeline, so Dr. Ali applied this same Alken-Murray "phenolics custom consortium", supplemented by a calculated dosage of Alken Bio-Nutrient 4, designed to create a final balance of Carbon to Nitrogen to Phosphate = 100 to 10 to 2. . To minimize total dosage of this nutrient amendment, BN 4 includes Dicyandiamide, a chemical that inhibits nitrification (the oxidation of ammonia-nitrogen forms of Nitrogen, by soil-resident Nitrosomonas europaea & Nitrobacter winogradskyi, into nitrate-nitrogen, which more easily leaves the site with rainwater runoff than ammonia-forms of nitrogen. Tests conducted on samples taken 8 days after the bioremediation phase of treatment began confirmed that no PCBs, PAHs, phenolics, d-Limonene or primary surfactants remained in the soil that was pretreated by Solutions Special X3™.

Although Alken-Murray now offers a wider variety of dependable, stable microbial products, designed for specific industrial applications, Alken-Murray's research staff still works closely with our worldwide authorized distributors, to help them select the most suitable treatment for their most challenging applications. If single formulated products or blends of two or more formulated products do not solve the current problem, all possible options will be exhausted before we give up on a project, whether it requires creation of a custom micro-consortium, like the one selected for Dr. Ali's x cleanup, or something larger that becomes an official new product available to all Alken-Murray clients.

Update: 12/30/2006



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Citrus Process Wastewater Improved
with Alken Clear-Flo® 7008

Citrus process plants have frequently experienced problems in wastewater treatment as a result of surge loads of terpenes, such as d-Limonene, etc. While this material is highly toxic to normal waste treatment bacteria, Alken Clear-Flo® 7008 can tolerate and degrade d-Limonene in wastewater applications. This broadly-formulated "industrial-application" product contains a total of 14 strains of 7 species (two gram-positive and 12 vegetative, gram-negative strains, offering a minimum guaranteed concentration of 5 billion CFU/gram of product applied to the system.

A field trial was carried out at a citrus concentrate plant with excellent results. In addition to reducing the toxic effects of d-Limonene, Alken Clear-Flo® 7008 significantly reduced the average effluent BOD/COD. The standard deviation of the effluent BOD/COD was also reduced after treatment, indicating increased plant operation stability. 


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