Microbiological fire-fighting formulation

A better microbiological fire-fighting foam which comprises a bioremediating element, surfactants, foaming agents, and inorganic nutrients, the bioremediating element comprising substantially of sporulating bacteria which are tolerant of the surfactants used, the surfactants chosen being benign into the bioremediating element used both when the microbes are at a spore state and when triggered, and the chosen surfactants further being biodegradable by the germs of the parasitic solution. Alternative embodiments of the invention include formulations which comprise additives or perfumes in addition to the constituents mentioned previously. The enhanced formulation empowers microbiological digestion to inert volatile organic compounds and hydrocarbons which may really be ablaze once applied.


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Foaming concentrates have been known and used since before 1940 to be used as fire fighting agents. Added ingredients have been added to such concentrates for a variety of factors. As an example, since such concentrates comprise organic orproteinaceous foaming agent, microbicides (bactericides) are added to the concentrate to kill or prevent germs which will decay the foaming agent. Normal foam fire fighting formulas create a foam that’s persistent for several days.Persistent foams have utility for such applications as temporary covers for waste and waste piles, vapor barriers for spills of toxic substances, and harvest protection against frost. The presence of a bactericide in the foam to avoid thedecomposition of this foam by germs, promotes the foams persistence.

Examples of protein hydrolysates as a constituent of a former art foam formulations include U.S. Pat. No. 5,225,095 into DiMaio, along with U.S. Pat. No. 5,133,991 into Norman et al.. Because these hydrolysates are exceptional nutrient resources formicrobiological life types, a minimal level toxicity microbicide or bactericide is usually recommended as an additive to preserve the concentrate. The simple fact that most foams are vulnerable to microbial decomposition provides a basis for the conclusion thatthe artwork of fire-fighting foams teaches against the addition of microbial life forms within their own formulas.

Organics-decomposing-microorganisms have been commercially available to clean oil spills from oil tankers and also to help in waste elimination from grease interceptors in restaurants for some time now. Microbes especially engineered for thedecomposition of difficult organic chemicals are well known and readily available. For example, Sybron Chemicals, Inc.. Manufactures the microbiological strains utilized in 1 embodiment of the current invention under U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,482,632 and4,288,545, incorporated herein by reference. The microbiological strains of the Bacillus species especially powerful in the practice of the invention in connection with the consumption of volatile organic chemicals are B. subtilis, B. licheniformis,and B. polymyxa, B. Amyloliquifaciens, B. Pasteurii, B. Laevolacticus.

In addition, the variety of one of the aforementioned strains is advantageous since these species of Bacillus are not true pathogens as would be the species B. anthracis and B. cereus. Reports of infections in man brought on by Bacillus species other than B.anthracis and B. cereus are rare. According to a report from the Department of Biology of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, B. subtilis, B. licheniformis, and B. polymyxa according to the maker, Sybron, would notconstitute a public health threat unless the microorganisms were used in an area where people with an irregular vulnerability (like when undergoing an open-incision surgical procedure) would be exposed.

Analysis of microbial degradation of oil dates back to at least 1942, when the American Petroleum Institute began to subsidize research within the area. Considerable fundamental understanding about factors which impact natural biodegradation, about thekinds of hydrocarbons capable of being degraded, and around the species and origin of the microorganisms involved in biodegradation had already been developed in the early 1970s. For instance, the Office of Naval Research sponsored over adozen fundamental and applied researchers in the late 1960s and early 1970s on oil biodegradation to restrain marine oil spills. Since this time, a large number of refineries, tank farms, and transfer channels now employ in situ bioremediation to restoreland contaminated by accidental spills of fuel oil or other hydrocarbons.

Probably the main collection of field tests of the usage of fire-fighting foam to control organics along with hydrocarbon fires were conducted in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War. The oil field fires generated a feeling of urgency andnecessity which concentrated creative minds on solving the issues in hand, and on concentrating on research and development to fix the issues which were anticipated to occur again in the long run.

LIGHT WATER.TM., Aqueous Film Forming Foam (a product of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) is the most frequently used fire-fighting aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) presently in the marketplace. In spite of this fact, it was seldom used throughout the oilfield fires of Kuwait due to its relative ineffectiveness in extinguishing fires of such a size and intensity (unless the origin is totally blanketed with memory ) and due to its relative inability to stop flashbacks. In addition, LIGHTWATER.TM. Along with other brands of AFFF contain fluorinated surfactants and butyl-ether, both generally considered to be toxic chemicals. It’s been observed that some soils contaminated with AFFF many years earlier still foam up during a rain forexample. This is evidence of the persistence of this fluorosurfactant used and its resistance to biodegradation. This may pose a hazard to fish and other sorts of wildlife in shallow waters that breath through their pores, at least till thesurfactant used in AFFF is sufficiently diluted or is obviously biodegraded. Being aware of these negative side effects to AFFF’s use, the United States Defense Department was looking for a noninvasive yet effective solution to AFFF.

Microorganisms (germs ) of the type employed in the present invention are capable of assimilating and breaking the non-soluble organic materials including hydrocarbons that write grease and oil into relatively harmless substances ofwater-soluble products, carbon dioxide and a lesser amount of fatty acids. These types of germs are rather commonplace in the environment.

The difficulty encountered in incorporating microbe cultures within an fire-fighting foam solution which will extinguish organically fueled flames and begin the disposal of the remaining hydrocarbon waste goods were lots of. The first challenge was theselection of a hardy strain of organics-consuming (mostly hydrocarbon-consuming) microorganisms which defy the extremely severe environment related to fueled fires at a percentage sufficient to satisfactorily tackle the size ofthe overall bioremediation challenge introduced. A second challenge was determining the specific organism which digest or decompose a particular oil or grease and yet remain capable of being scraped so that they have a decent shelf life therebybeing available when needed. Another challenge was the choice of a microbial strain which would stabilize in an surfactant strong enough to extinguish the fire. A fourth challenge was to restrain the microbe population so they innovate and existin sufficient quantities so as to accomplish the task of hydrocarbon waste elimination in a timely fashion.

A need therefore exists for a bioremediating fire-fighting foam mix and a means for the decomposition of organic substances which meets the challenges presented in order to reduce cleanup costs and increase the quality of the cleanup byproviding an effective and environmentally safe means to do so.

IP reviewed by Plant-Grow agriculture technology news