ARI Project: 15-07-002 | Funding Round: Round 16 (2014-2015)  | Start Date: 05/01/2015  | Status: Active

Improving Nitrate Removal Rates in Agricultural Bioreactors by Immobilizing a Denitrifying Bacteria onto a High Specific Surface Area Support Matrix

ARI Member Campus: California State University, Monterey Bay
Research Focus Area: Natural Resources
Project Personnel: Director: Skardon, John, California State University, Monterey Bay
Co-Investigator: Haffa, Arlene, California State University, Monterey Bay
Collaborator: Silveus, John, California State University, Monterey Bay
Cooperator: Krone-Davis, Pam, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
ARI Allocation: $21,773.00
Match Donors: $1,000.00 - Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
$4,261.00 - U.S. Department of Agriculture
$2,800.00 - U.S. Department of Education
$13,713.00 - U.S. Department of Education
Total Funding: $43,547.00

Project Objective: 1) Demonstrate the process for inoculating three types of bioreactor support matrices (woodchips, plastic, porous ceramic) with a single type of bacteria in the bioreactors. 2) Quantify the difference in the rate of denitrification for the plastic, and porous ceramic support matrices in comparison to the woodchips. 3)Determine the minimum time needed to reduce nitrate concentrations in the outlet of the bioreactor channel below the 10ppm total maximum daily load (TMDL), for each type of support matrix.

Project Abstract: California regulatory authorities and farmers have no cost effective solution to minimize or eliminate nitrate pollution in our groundwater and surface water. Research has shown that woodchip bioreactors can remove some of the nitrate but they are too slow. First, we plan to replace the woodchips with synthetic support matrix that has very high surface area. Second, we innoculate the matrix with a single bacteria, common in soil, that has very high rates of denitrication. We think the resulting system can be much smaller, transportable, cost effective, and can be easily maintained by farmers.

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