Enzymes are naturally occurring proteins that speed up the chemical reactions of other substances. They break down non-living organic materials like grime, gunk, dirt and animal (human) waste into natural byproducts like carbon dioxide and water without changing their molecular structure.
This is what makes enzymes an eco-friendly treatment. This is especially true compared to oxidative therapies that are both costly and less efficient.
Many industrial processes produce large quantities of organic pollutants that must be treated with high-cost chemicals. The organics are typically broken down into smaller molecules to be reused or disposed of. Enzymes can replace expensive chemical products by breaking these pollutants into manageable components.
Activated sludge (AS) contains significant hydrolytic enzymes used in biological wastewater treatment to break down organic materials. While enzyme production in bioreactors can be costly, several studies indicate that the recovery of hydrolytic enzymes from waste AS is feasible and may represent an alternative source for industrial bio-catalysts.
Since most hydrolytic enzymes are extracellular, they can be extracted from AS by disrupting microbial flocs and harvesting extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Sonication is an efficient method to achieve AS disruption for enzyme extraction because it increases the permeability of EPS to turbulence-induced shear forces. The optimum solids content for AS disruption with sonication is low because sludge viscosity and adsorption of ultrasound energy by particulate matter increase the cost of cell disruption with higher solids concentrations.
Various products are available that can help reduce the growth of filamentous algae in ponds. Most of these products work to kill existing filamentous algae by disrupting the cell wall and inhibiting photosynthesis. Generally, these chemicals are most effective when applied early in the season. In addition to chemical treatments, aeration can also control blooms by encouraging phosphorous to bind within the pond sediments and prevent it from becoming available for use by algae.
Intense “blooming” of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in eutrophic water bodies threatens the ecological integrity of freshwater ecosystems and drinking water quality. Aquatic vascular plants can limit the intensity of these harmful blooms by limiting their nutrient uptake through various mechanisms, including the synthesis and release of allelochemical compounds. Enzymes of the oxidoreductase family, such as laccases, peroxidases and tyrosinases, are promising candidates for removing organic contaminants in aquatic environments. This enzyme therapy treatment converts hazardous environmental pollutants into less toxic products with lower molecular weights than the initial pollutant by catalyzing oxidation reactions.
Enzymes can oxidize organics in water. When oxidized, organic compounds are reduced to carbon dioxide and water, making them more manageable to filter out, collect and dispose of. This makes enzymatic treatment an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional sludge and BOD reduction techniques.
The ability of enzymes to break down contaminants at the molecular level also allows them to be used in the re-circulation of pools and spas. This helps eliminate odors caused by algae, bacteria and decomposing plant material.
Water quality is often assessed by evaluating color, odor and turbidity. However, these physical characteristics can only reveal a certain degree of contamination. For example, a high concentration of iron or tannin may cause a reddish appearance and give off an unpleasant odor. Custom-designed enzymatic treatment solutions can reduce these odors and help prevent corrosion from the production of sulfuric acid. This enables facilities to save money by avoiding replacing equipment and pipelines.
Reduces Chlorine Demand
Even with perfectly functioning filtration and regular sanitization, pool water can collect unsavory organic matter from sunscreen, sweat, animal (and human) waste, wind and rain, plants, and the like. These non-living organic pollutants mainly cause high chlorine demand, murky water and high phosphate levels.
Enzymes are proteins that speed up specific chemical reactions by reacting with and digesting those organics, turning them into natural byproducts of CO2 or water without changing their molecular structure. They also work better on organic contaminants than chlorine, reducing the need for heavy chlorination.
The enzyme studied in this study, chlorite dismutase, is known to convert chlorite, a pollutant found in groundwater, drinking water and soil, into chlorine gas and oxygen. But it needs to be understood how this reaction occurs at the atomic level. The research, published in ACS Catalysis, provides new insights into how the molecule works. The results open possibilities for utilizing chlorite dismutase to reduce worldwide industrial pollutants in water supplies.