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Nitrification is the biological process whereby certain species of bacteria are able to cycle ammoniacal nitrogen into nitrate.  This is achieved through a biological oxidation in two steps, from ammonia/ammonium to nitrite and then to nitrate.  Nitrification is a core competence of Nova Q, whether that be in wastewater treatment, aquaculture, agriculture or pond and lake treatment.   

Nitrification in Water:

Nitrification is fundamental to wastewater treatment as ammoniacal nitrogen is a tightly controlled parameter in all discharge limits.  It is a particular challenge for the following reasons:

 Nitrification is only performed by a select group of bacteria and in limited operating conditions;

 The nitrifying bacteria are very sensitive to changes in operating conditions;

 These species also grow and duplicate at a slower rate than other species found in wastewater systems.  So when a system is in trouble, the nitrification recovery tends to lag the other parameters; 

 There are many factors that can inhibit nitrification - pH, dissolved oxygen and alkalinity being the most common; 

The AquaClean bacteria range has several products that include nitrification species (both freshwater and marine) in stable, ready-to-use formulae.  Most products in the range now carry long shelf-life when unopened and left in normal ambient conditions.  Transport is also easy with no special handling required, except in extreme weather conditions.

AquaClean™ ACF-SC is the leading product in this area with very high concentrations of nitrifying bacteria.  ACF-SC has been particularly successful in rapidly fixing nitrification issues in industrial applications where loads have been well over 500ppm ammonia.

Nitrification in Aquaculture:

The most advanced nitrification systems are the recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS).  These cycle elevated ammonia loads in massive volumes of water in a very short time.  They must be robust as failure will result in significant loss of aquatic life.

AquaClean products are now being used around the world to rapidly start the nitrification biofilters in RAS systems.  

In larger systems, we advise the use of AquaClean™ Activator products where nitrifying bacteria are prepared in bioreactors with specially designed activator powders that both encourage rapid growth and enhanced nitrification functionality, ensuring not only vast numbers but also that both stages of nitrification are active prior to the addition of fish to the systems.

Nitrification in Soil:

Nitrification is also important in soil, where ammoniacal nitrogen in organic fertilisers is converted by nitrifying bacteria in the rhizosphere into nitrate, the preferred form of nitrogen for plant uptake. 

AquaClean™ Agro products include versions with both nitrifying and nitrogen-fixing bacteria that are prepared with enhanced Plant Growth Promoting functions and are certified for use in Organic Farming systems (Irish Organic Association, OMRI).  


Nitrification as a Core Competence:

Nova Q and BluePlanet Labs have worked with nitrifying bacteria for many years and have solved many and varied nitrification issues in applications from wastewater treatment (municipal, industrial and domestic) aquaculture, agriculture and remediation


Nova Q and BluePlanet Labs have several distributors across Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe.  Please contact us by phone, email or LiveChat to find the most suitable to help you.  

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  • Unit B21, KCR Industrial Estate, Kimmage, Dublin D12 X278, Ireland

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