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The Water Break Podcast, Episode 8: Microscopy and DNA, A Match Made In Heaven

“Where we bridge the gap between water plant operators and engineers”

In Episode 8, Heather Jennings discusses DNA Analysis and Microscopy with Dr. Paul Campbell and Ryan Hennessy. Paul has extensive experience with microbial physiology, industrial microbiology, and fermentation and leads Aster Bio’s molecular biology and biochemistry work. Ryan is a microbiology and operations specialist at Midwest Contract Operations. Topics covered in the podcast include introduction and orientation to wastewater microbiology evaluation including Next Generation DNA Sequencing, qPCR, and microscopic evaluation; identifying and interpreting microorganisms and their roles in wastewater processing; and tracking microbiology trends in system operations.

Paul Campbell, PhD, may be contacted at https://www.asterbio.com/.

Ryan Hennessy may be contacted at https://www.mco-us.com/wastewater-microbiology/.

Podcast References from Wanda’s Water Tidbit: Skipping Stones on Water

Discover Magazine, Cameron Walker and Jeff Wilson: The Physics of Skipping Stones

Library of Congress: Everyday Mysteries, How Does a Stone “Skip” Across water?

Wired YouTube Channel: Why It’s Almost Impossible to Skip a Stone 89 Times

Nitrification 101

By Heather Jennings, PE

Today we are going to focus on nitrifiers, those wastewater treatment autotrophs that get energy from oxidizing ammonia. (Autotrophs are microorganisms that produce complex organic compounds using inorganic carbon from simple substances as a food source.) Oxidizing ammonia is a fancy way of saying ripping off hydrogens to stick oxygens onto nitrogen—the essence of nitrification.

In wastewater treatment we rely on bacteria to perform nitrification. While Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas are the most commonly recognized, they are only part of a suite of autotrophic nitrifying bacteria that do the job. Mind you, there are also heterotrophic nitrifiers that are part of the floc-forming bacteria that help in the oxidation of ammonium, but we’re going to focus on the autotrophs this time around. [Read more…]

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