The Science of Ammonia – The Smelly Urinal GAS




Ammonical Nitrogen (NH3-N), is the measure for the amount of ammonia, a toxic pollutant often found in landfill leachate and waste products, such as sewage liquid manure and other organic liquid waste products. Ammonia can directly poison humans and upset the equilibrium of water systems. Exposure to high concentration of ammonia in the air causes immediate burning of the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract and can result in blindness, lung damage or death. Skin or eye contact with concentrated ammonia can also cause irritation or burns. Ammonia is preferred nitrogen-containing nutrient for plant growth. But it is not readily absorbed by plants. As the absorption of nitrogen directly from urine is not easily possible. But ammonia can be converted to nitrite (NO2) and nitrate (NO3) by certain bacteria and then can be used by plants. Nitrate and ammonia are the most common forms of nitrogen in the aquatic system. The nitrogen from ammonia is converted to nitrate compounds by nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These bacteria converting ammonia is to nitrates are known as nitrifying bacteria. Nitrifying bacteria (family Nitrobacteraceae, is a family of Alphaproteobacteria. They are gram-negative and aerobic. The bacteria of this family derive their energy from oxidizing ammonia to nitrite, or by oxidizing nitrite to nitrate.) that uses inorganic chemicals as an energy source. They are microorganisms that are important in the “nitrogen cycle” as converters of ammonia in nitrates, compounds usable by plants. The nitrification process requires the mediation of two distinct groups – Bacteria that convert nitrites (Nitrosomonas, Nitrosopira, Nitrosococcus, and Nitrosolobus) Bacteria that convert nitrites (toxic to plants) to nitrates (Nitrobacter, Nitrospina, and Nitrococcus) Nitrifying bacteria are a narrow taxonomic group in the environment and are found in highest numbers where considerable amounts of ammonia are present (areas with extensive protein decomposition, and sewage treatment plants). Nitrifying bacteria are classified as obligate chemolithotrophs. This simply means that they must use inorganic salts as an energy source and generally cannot utilize organic materials. They must oxidize ammonia and nitrites for their energy needs and fix inorganic carbon dioxide (CO2) to fulfill their carbon requirements. They are largely non-motile (moving or capable of moving) and must colonize a surface for optimum growth. Maximum nitrification rates will exist if dissolved oxygen (DO) is 2.0mg/liter (ppm) or more. All species of nitrifying bacteria require a number of micronutrients. Most important among these is the need for phosphorus for ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate) production. All species of Nitrosomonas use ammonia (NH3) as an energy source during its conversion to nitrite (NO2) (Toxic). Ammonia is first converted (hydrolyzed) to an amine (NH2) compound then oxidized to nitrite. Then the Nitrobacter use nitrites for their energy source in oxidizing them to nitrate (NO3). Image Source: https://www.britannica.com/ Denitrifying bacteria, whose action results in the conversion of nitrates to free atmospheric nitrogen, Thiobacillus denitrificans, Micrococcus denitrificans, and some species of Serratia, Pseudomonas, and Achromobacter are some known denitrifiers. Without denitrification, the Earth’s supply of nitrogen would eventually accumulate in the oceans, since nitrates are highly soluble. Such a rich cycle of nitrogen in nature is so mimicked by carefully choosing and combining in different ratios as per application requirements added with micronutrients and organic surfactants and preservatives to make them practically a product of use in the Zerodor CARE products such as – The “Urinal CARE Bio Block” The “Drain CARE Restroom” The “Restroom CARE” The “Surface CARE” Let’s be proactive to supplement the natural cycles.