Definitions and Abbreviations Related to Bioremediation:

These definitions are provided for informational purposes. They are provided within the context of the bioremediation industry and the application of bioremediation and environmental products. As such, this information is not intended to be comprehensive references within the context of science.

ABIOTIC: Not living. Not biotic or living.

ACIDIC:A substance that has a pH less than 5 and has a low concentration of hydroxyl ions (OH-).

ACIDOPHILE:Organisms that thrives in acidic conditions. Organism that grows best under acid conditions (down to a pH of 1).

ADAPTATION:Change in an organism or population of organisms through which they become more suited to the prevailing environment. Adaptation can be genetic and/or physiological.

AEROBE:An organism that can grow in the presence of air.

AEROBIC:Aerobic: An environment with plenty of oxygen. An environment that has a partial pressure of oxygen similar to normal atmospheric conditions.

ALKALINE:A substance that has a pH greater than 9 and has a low concentration of hydrogen ions (H+).

ALKALOPHILE: Organism that grows best under alkaline conditions (up to a pH of 10.5).

ANAEROBIC: An environment without oxygen.

ANAEROBE: An organism that grows in the absence of oxygen or air.

ANAEROBIC RESPIRATION: (In some bacteria) Use of inorganic electron acceptors other than oxygen as terminal electron acceptors for energy yielding oxidative metabolism. NITRATE RESPIRATION is an example of anaerobic respiration.

ANOXIC: Literally "without oxygen." An adjective describing a habitat devoid of oxygen.

ANTHROPOGENIC: Derived from human activities.

AUTOTROPH: An organism that uses carbon dioxide as its source of carbon for growth. (Compare with HETEROTROPH.)

BACTERIA: A group of diverse and ubiquitous prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms.

BIOACCUMULATION: Intracellular accumulation of environmental pollutants such as heavy metals by living organisms.

BIOAUGMENTATION: Introducing or adding microorganisms to the environment that can bioremediate, metabolize, consume, breakdown and grow on specific organic compounds.

BIOAVAILABILITY: The availability of chemicals to bioremediation microbes. The availability of microorganisms. This factor determines the ability of the environment to support bioremediation.

BOD or BIOCHEMICAL OXYGEN DEMAND: The requirement for molecular oxygen by microbes during oxidation of biological substances in sewage. The BOD test measures the oxygen consumed (in mg/L) over 5 days at 20 degrees C.

BIODEGRADATION: Bioremediation. The breakdown of organic substances by microorganisms.

BIOFILTER: Apparatus that biodegrades volatile organic compounds in air by passing the air through media containing biodegrading microbes.

BIOMASS: The amount of living matter present in a particular habitat.

BIOREMEDIATION: The process by which microbes or living organisms degrade or actually transform various substances, hydrocarbons, toxins, and other hazardous organic contaminants. See ACCELERATED BIOREMEDIATION.

BIOSTIMULATION: Increasing or stimulating the activity and ability of microbes to biodegrade and bioremediate contaminants. The addition of electron donors and acceptors. The addition of oxygen, nutrients, minerals, fertilizers, or even other hydrocarbons.

BIOTIC: Living. Natural.

BIOTRANSFORMATION: Alteration of the structure of a compound by a microbe or other living organism or enzyme. This is the actual and most fundamental process of bioremediation.

BIOVENTING: Adding and supplying oxygen in situ to oxygen deprived soil by forcing air through contaminated soil. This can encourage bioremediation. Engineering theory claims this can minimizes the release of volatiles into the atmosphere. This technique is commonly used to remediate soil deep underground and underneath structures since it can be non-invasive. A variation of this can actually involve the release or venting of volatile hydrocarbons and other contaminates into the atmosphere. This in effect evaporates the liquid contaminates.

B.R.A.T.: Bioremediation Advancement Technologies. Alabaster Corp. Product line.

BROWNFIELD: An abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial or commercial facility where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by a real or perceived environmental contamination. Typically a contaminated industrial site or other site. Often there are government programs available to assist or encourage remediation and redevelopment.

BTEX: Benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. These are V.O.C. and these are flammable, explosive and volatile. These are GRO or gasoline range organics. These are common contamination. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.


BUILDERS: These give the cleaning product endurance. The ability to withstand heavy work loads. Various ingredients such as phosphates and citrate salts can be used as builders in cleaning products.

CARCINOGEN: A cancer-causing substance. The majority of petroleum products are or have ingredients which are classified as potential carcinogens based upon OSHA criteria. Suppliers are required to identify such products as potential carcinogens on package labels and Material Safety Data Sheets.

CAUSTIC: Any strong alkaline material which has a corrosive effect on living tissue and soft metals.

CLOUD POINT: The temperature at which a noticeable cloud of crystals or other solid material appears when a chemical or petroleum product sample is cooled under prescribed conditions. The temperature limit of nonionic surfactants. This is the temperature at which a surfactant drops out of solution causing the solution to become turbid (cloudy). Surfactant activity and surfactant performance are usually greatest just below the cloud point.

COD or CHEMICAL OXYGEN DEMAND: The amount of oxygen in milligrams per liter to oxidize both organic and oxidizable inorganic compounds.

COMETABOLISM: The biodegradation of a pollutant by an organism while using some other compound(s) for growth and energy. There is little or no benefit to the biodegrading organism, the pollutant just happens to be affected by the growth of the cometabolizing organism.

CONSORTIUM: As in “a microbial consortium.” Two or more members of a natural assemblage in which each organism benefits from the other. The group may collectively carryout some process that no single member can accomplish on its own.

CREOSOTE: An antifungal wood preservative used frequently to treat telephone poles and railroad ties. Creosote consists of coal tar distillation products, including PHENOLS and PAHs. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

CRUDE OIL: Crude oils are generally classified as being either predominantly paraffinic or naphthenic. The next major crude oil components are the aromatic and olefinic hydrocarbon constituents followed by a long list of organic and inorganic constituents. (See definition for paraffinic, naphthenic, aromatic and olefinic components). Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

DCE: Dichloroethylene. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

DENITRIFICATION: The formation of gaseous nitrogen and/or oxides of nitrogen from nitrate or nitrite by some bacteria during ANAEROBIC RESPIRATION. Denitrification only occurs in ANAEROBIC or MICROAEROPHILIC conditions. It can sometimes be used to remove nitrate or nitrite from liquid wastes.

DETERGENT: Cleaning solutions that consist of water and one or more of the following ingredients: Surfactants, builders, solvents, chelating agents and soap. Therefore, detergency breaks the bond between waste particles and the surface.

DISPERSANT: A chemical or agent which disperses or spreads or dissipates the waste particles throughout the solution and prevents these from accumulating together.

DNAPL: Dense non aqueous phase liquid. A liquid heavier than water. It sinks below. See NAPL.

ECO-ROOF: A roof planted with vegetation. A former remediation site recovered with plant life. Usually the final stage of phytoeremediation.

ELECTRON ACCEPTOR: Small inorganic or organic compound that is reduced to complete an electron transport chain. Compound that is reduced in a metabolic reaction.

ELECTRON DONOR: Small inorganic or organic compound that is oxidized to initiate an electron transport chain. Compound from which electrons are derived in a metabolic reaction.

EMULSIFIER: A emulsifier is a natural or synthetic chemical agent that maintains or creates an emulsion. It suspends a finely divided oily or resinous liquid within another liquid. An emulsion is the suspension of one liquid within another liquid. Some examples are oil within water, or fats within milk. Another example is when your trying to wash grease off of your hands with soap and water and you notice a creamy or sudsy build-up allowing you to rinse off the grease, etc… this is the grease and water mixing together which they would not ordinarily do. These are examples of emulsion. The Industrial Class Microbial Cleaners manufactured by Alabaster Corp. contain various emulsifying ingredients. These are designed to form a very tight emulsion which can typically last up to 20 days or more! Most competitive products last about 3 days in the best circumstances. This greatly enhances the overall cleaning ability of our products and it allows the microbes a longer period to degrade the hydrocarbons during bioremediation. Therefore, emulsifying breaks up waste particles into small droplets which can be dispersed into water or a solvent.

ENHANCED RHIZOSPHERE BIODEGRADATION: Enhanced biodegradation of contaminants near plant roots where compounds exuded by the roots increase microbial biodegradation activity. Other plant processes such as water uptake by the plant roots can enhance biodegradation by drawing contaminants to the root zone.

ENRICHMENT: Culture in a liquid medium that results in the increase of the population of an organism relative to others. The liquid culture frequently contains substances that encourage the growth of the selected organism (Such as the chemical pollutant and mineral nutrients.)

ESA: Environmental Site Assessment or Risk Assessment. A environmental assessment or a transaction screen is typically an inspection and written report utilized to identify any potential environmental risk. Typically these are required by lenders and real estate buyers before or during the process of financing and purchasing real estate. Assessments These site assessments and environmental reports are usually divided into three (3) separate phases or types of work being called Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3.

U.S. EPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

ENZYMES: A complex protein which encourages a biochemical reaction by acting as a catalyst. In the bioremediation business there have been many enzyme products available. These are often sold as bioremediation products in their own right. Enzymes are not the same as microbes! They do not bioremediate hydrocarbons by themselves. However, they can assist in the process.

EUTROPHICATION: The enrichment of natural waters with inorganic material especially nitrogen and phosphorous such that they support excessive growth of plants and algae. (Compare with OLIGOTROPHIC.)

EX SITU: Out of the original position (Excavated). As in “Ex Situ Bioremediation.” The contamination is removed and treated elsewhere.

FACULTATIVE ORGANISM: Organism that can carry out both options of a mutually exclusive process (e.g., aerobic and anaerobic metabolism).

FAIRY RING: A naturally occurring and visible circle on the ground caused by fungus or other biological life. A fanciful name applied to a vegetative ring believed to be of mystical origin.

FERMENTATION: An energy yielding metabolism that involves a series of oxidation-reduction reactions in which the substrate and terminal electron acceptor are organic compounds. Fermentation occurs in a wide variety of bacteria and fungi.

FOAMING: Creation bubbles which help lift the waste particles from the surface and encapsulate V.O.C.

FUNGI: A group of diverse and widespread unicellular and multicellular eukaryotic organisms. Some species are important in the decomposition of plant litter.

GREEN GDP: The reconciliation of a country’s economic history with it’s environmental history.

HALOPHILIC: Organisms whose requirement for salt exceeds that of other organisms.

HELITACK: Fire fighting using helicopters to deploy firefighters, chemical agents, water, etc.

HETEROTROPH: Any organism that requires exogenous organic material for growth and reproduction.

HYDROCARBON: A hydrocarbon is an organic chemical compound that is comprised only of carbon (C) and hydrogen (H) atoms. These can be simple or very complex. Many different oils, fat, waxes, solvents, fuels, gases, petroleum products, etc. contain hydrocarbons or are hydrocarbons. Many of these are toxic and carcinogenic. Many hydrocarbons are volatile, explosive and flammable. Under the right circumstances most of these can be biodegraded when broken down and made accessible to the correct strains of biodegrading microbes. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

IN SITU: In place, without excavation. As in “In Situ Bioremediation.” The contamination or soil is treated where it is.

INOCULUM: Material used to introduce a microorganism into a suitable situation for growth.

ISOENZYME: An enzyme that occurs in more than one form in a given species. Sometimes called an isozyme.

LEL: Lower Explosive Level: This term or factor is used to describe the minimum safety level for avoiding explosion. In other words the LEL is the minimum level in which a volatile could possibly ignite and explode. This is a factor when degassing and cleaning various industrial tanks, vessels and lines, as well as fuel spills. Alabaster Corp. products like Petro-Clean and BGP#1 can reduce the LEL factor or danger so the volatile gases are rendered less flammable.

LAND FARMING:This process IS NOT accelerated bioremediation. No additional bioremediation products are used. Land farming only utilizes the naturally present microbes. The contamination is spread out over a large area and tilled. Although this is less expensive in terms of product usage, the actual costs and liability of maintaining the contamination for a prolonged period will off set the short term savings. It can take mother nature hundreds or even thousands of years to naturally biodegrade contamination. During this period the contamination remains a liability. It can migrate or spread. An additional problem is that the land is effectively unusable during this period.

LNAPL: A liquid lighter than water that floats on top of water. These are usually hydrocarbons. See NAPL.

LPST: Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank.

LIGNIN: A complex polymer that occurs in woody material of higher plants. It is highly resistant to chemical and enzymatic degradation. The WHITE ROT FUNGI are known for their lignin degrading capability.

MEDIUM: Any material that supports growth of an organism.

MESOPHILE: An organism whose optimum growth range is 20-45 degrees C. (Compare with THERMOPHILE and PSYCHROPHILE.)

METHANOTROPH: Aerobic bacteria that can use methane as a sole source of carbon.


METHANOGEN: Bacteria that anaerobicly oxidize hydrogen to methane and water using carbon dioxide as the electron acceptor. These occur in anaerobic sludge, ponds, and sewage.

MICROAEROPHILIC: An environment that is low in oxygen but is not anaerobic.

MICROBE: Microorganism. Bacteria. Often referred to as “Bugs” in the bioremediation business. Alabaster Corp. Microbial Blends for bioremediation are extremely concentrated. These are specifically acclimated species of naturally occurring, non-pathogenic microbes. These microbial species are extremely effective for a very diverse range of hydrocarbon environmental pollution and contamination. They are designed specifically for bioremediation of hydrocarbon and oil spill waste. Typically these are most effective in a temperature range between 50°F to 100°F. They are tolerant of both seawater and brackish water and work in a pH range of 4.0 to 11.5. This is a greater range of viability than with other microbial bioremediation products.

MICROCOSM: A community or other unit that is representative of a larger unity.

MICROFLORA: All of the microorganisms associated with location or environment.

MICRONUTRIENT: Chemical element necessary for growth found in small amounts, usually < 100 mg kg-1 in a plant. These elements consist of B, Cl, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Zn.

MICROORGANISMS: Includes bacteria, algae, fungi, and viruses.

MINERALIZATION: The breakdown of organic matter to inorganic materials (such as carbon dioxide and water) by bacteria and fungi.

MINIMAL MEDIUM: Culture medium that lacks certain growth factors so that it will support growth of only certain types of microorganisms (These are often used for ENRICHMENT CULTURES).

MOP and GLOW MEN: Humorous jargon, industry slang used by hazardous waste operation cleanup crews which jokingly call themselves “Mop and glow boys.”

MPN or MOST PROBABLE NUMBER: A method for estimating the concentration of microorganisms in a sample. A given volume of liquid or suspension is inoculated into each of (typically) 5 tubes containing growth media. Decreasing volumes are inoculated into successive sets of 5 tubes. After an incubation period the tubes are scored for growth or lack of growth. Those tubes in which growth occurred are assumed to have contained at least one VIABLE organism in the inoculant. The concentration of VIABLE microorganisms in the original liquid or suspension is calculated using a statistical table.

MTBE: Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether: These are hydrocarbons used commonly in fuel such as gasoline. They are aromatic volatile organics and are very flammable, and explosive. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

MYCELIUM: (plural, mycelia)- Mass of hyphae that form the vegetative body of many fungal organisms.

MYCOBACTERIUM: A genus of aerobic bacteria found in soil and water that are capable of biodegrading multi-ring compounds such as PAHs.

MYCORRHIZA: A mutually beneficial association between a fungus and the root of a plant. These occur in a wide range of plants including trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.

NAPL: Non-aqueous phase liquid. This can be lighter than water (LNAPL), or more dense than water (DNAPL).

NATURAL CAPITALISM: An unofficial or pop culture economic theory which assigns financial cost to the abuse, use, maintenance, and depletion of natural resources and the environment.

NITRATE RESPIRATION: (dissimilatory nitrate reduction) The use of nitrate as a terminal electron acceptor for ANAEROBIC RESPIRATION. This process occurs under ANAEROBIC or MICROAEROPHILIC conditions. Not all bacteria are capable of this form of metabolism and the nitrate may not be reduced completely to nitrogen gas (stopping at nitrite, for example). When the nitrate is reduced to gaseous forms the process is called DENITRIFICATION. This can sometimes be used to remove nitrate or nitrite from liquid wastes.

NITRIFICATION: The oxidation of ammonia to nitrite and then nitrate by bacterial species such as Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter, respectively. This process is strictly aerobic.

OBLIGATE: Any state or condition that is an essential attribute of a given organism. For example an obligate AEROBE can grow only under aerobic conditions.

OLIGOTROPHIC: Bodies of water poor in those nutrients that support growth of aerobic photosynthetic organisms. (Compare with EUTROPHICATION).

ORGANIC PUMP: Uptake of large quantities of water by plant (trees) roots and translocation into the atmosphere to reduce a flow of water. Used to keep contaminated groundwater from reaching a body of water, or to keep surface water from seeping into a capped landfill and forming leachate.

OXIDASE: An enzyme that catalyses a reaction in which electrons are removed from a substrate and donated directly to molecular oxygen.

OXYGENASE: An enzyme that catalyses a reaction in which one (monooxygenase) or both (dioxygenase) atoms of molecular oxygen are incorporated into a molecule of substrate. Oxygenases catalyze the first step in degradation of strait-chained and aromatic hydrocarbons.

OXYGENATORS:These are additives which assist the cleaning as well as increase the oxygen levels within the environment for bioremediation. These must be used appropriately. Some chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide do increase the oxygen and assist in the cleaning greatly however, it releases too much oxygen too quickly for the microbes. This results in a temporary spike then a major drop off in effectiveness of the microbes because they are killed off. After this oxygen “bomb” settles down then the soil will stabilize and have a higher oxygen amount. After this point, the microbes will begin to flourish for a time. But it is the timing that is important. If the (H2O2) is introduced before the bioremediation microbes (hydrocarbon degrading strains) are introduced it can assist. If it is introduced while the bioremediation microbes are present, it will destroy them. After which the indigenous microbes may show an increase in activity however, these are not acclimated for hydrocarbons. So it can be very counterproductive. Again this depends upon the timing and application. Our microbial booster addresses this issue perfectly. Our microbial booster is designed to pull the necessary oxygen out of the water at an acceptable rate.

PATHOGEN: An organism capable of causing disease.

PAH: Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Multi-ring compounds found in fuels, oils, and CREOSOTE. These are also common combustion products. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

PENETRATING OR WETTING AGENTS: Penetrating or wetting agents cause the water or solvent to surround the waste particles which would otherwise repel the water.

pH: Percentage of hydrogen. The measure of hydroxyl (OH-) or hydrogen (H+) ions in a solution. Acids contain varying levels of hydrogen ions, bases contain hydroxyl ions. A pH of 5-9 is considered neutral, below 5 is acidic and greater than 9 is alkaline. The word or term "pH" comes from a French term 'pouvoir hydrogen' which means Hydrogen Power. This has since been expressed as "parts hydrogen" or “percent hydrogen”. pH refers to the amount of hydrogen ions contained within a substance. It is the amount of hydrogen ions present in a substance that determines the alkalinity or acidity. pH is expressed on a scale with a range of 0 to 14. It is a measurement of the amount of hydrogen ions in relation to the amount of hydroxyl ions. A greater amount of hydrogen ions than hydroxyl ions means the solution is acidic. A greater amount of hydroxyl ions means the solution is alkaline or basic. The numbers closer to 0 as more acidic and the numbers closer to 14 as more alkaline or base (basic). A pH near 7 is considered neutral. Lemon juice has a pH around 2, water has a neutral pH around 7, vinegar has a pH around 3, baking soda has a pH around 8, ammonia has a pH around 12. The numbers on the scale represent an increase or decrease in acidity or alkalinity by a factor of 10. Therefore, lemon juice is almost 10 times more acidic than vinegar and ammonia is over 1000 times more alkaline than baking soda.

PCBs: Polychlorinated biphenyls. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

PCE: (Perchloroethylene): Tetrachloroethylene. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

PCP: Pentachlorophenol. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

PCP: Polychlorinated Phenyl: Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons used commonly in insecticides. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

PHASE 1: Typically a phase 1 is a qualitative investigation and report. Visual observations and property history are researched. In addition various regulatory records and databases are reviewed. The object is to determine the reasonable probability of environmental risks. Usually no testing or sampling is performed during a phase 1 environmental assessment. However, sometimes a Phase 1 risk assessment report will include some minor soil sampling and testing as a precautionary measure. This does not necessarily qualify the report as a Phase 2 environmental assessment. Alabaster Corp. has certifications from Texas A&M University related to these ESA and has completed literally hundreds of these.

PHASE 2:phase 2 is a quantitative investigation and report. Sampling of materials suspected of contamination are analyzed and characterized. The object of this environmental assessment is to estimate or determine as much as reasonable the extent of any environmental contamination present at a commercial real estate site. These may be limited in scope requiring only a few conformational samples to determine the possibility of suspected contamination or they may become very extensive in order to determine the entire extent of contamination. Alabaster Corp. has certifications from Texas A&M University related to these ESA and the required testing procedures related to these ESA. Alabaster Corp. has completed literally hundreds of these.

PHASE 3:A phase 3 remediation and environmental management project including any Phase 1 and Phase 2 report and environmental site assessment records. The results of a Phase 1 and Phase 2 are studied to formulate an appropriate and reasonable solution for an environmental problem. The remediation or bioremediation project is planned and estimated in terms of time, costs, and objectives. Alabaster Environmental and Bioremediation Consulting is very experienced with environmental remediation and bioremediation projects. We are proud to assist our clients with their commercial real estate and environmental risk assessment needs. Directly or through distributors and agents, Alabaster Corp. has been involved with and successfully completed literally thousands of bioremediation projects.

PHENOL: Carbolic acid (C6H5OH). Phenols and substituted phenols are used as antimicrobial agents in high concentrations. These can be altered before bioremediation. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.


PHYTODEGRADATION: A process in which plants are able to degrade (break down) organic pollutants through their metabolic processes.

PHYTOEXTRACTION: Use of plants to extract contaminants (such as metals) from the environment (especially soil). When the plants are saturated with contaminants they are harvested.

PHYTOMINING: Use of plants to extract inorganic substances of economic value (precious metals, etc.)

PHYTOREMEDIATION: Use of plants to remediate contaminated soil or groundwater.

PHYTOSTABILIZATION: Use of soil amendments and plants to reduce bioavailability and offsite migration of contaminants.

PHYTOVOLATILIZATION: Use of plants to volatilize contaminants (solvents, etc.) from soil or water.

PLASMID: Extra DNA in a cell that is usually dispensable, but may confer an advantage to the cell, such as the ability to biodegrade certain compounds or resistance to antibiotics.

PLOW AND PRAY: An industry term for the practice of implementing ineffective bioremediation processes in an attempt to limit remediation costs. Typically this may include only tilling contaminated soil with the mistaken belief that aeration of the soil alone will eventually bioremediate the pollution. This may release the volatiles. Sometimes “microbes”, “enzymes”, “oxygenators” or “fertilizers” are used alone. This is inferior because the microbes can not break down the hydrocarbons effectively without proper chemical assistance. This only creates a greater population of ineffective microbes. Sometimes inexpensive, commodity type chemicals such as “surfactants” are used alone. This will only dilute and spread out the contamination creating the illusion that the waste levels have been reduced. These different processes are seldom utilized together in the appropriate manner. It’s like trying to make a cake with half the ingredients. It may smell sweet but it’s only half baked.

PNA: Poly Nuclear Aromatics: Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

PRICE OF CARBON: Term for the market value of petrochemical pollution emission rights or credits which are traded internationally. This is a profitable but environmentally controversial system which may allow for a pollution producing entity to purchase unused emission credits from other entities. Opponents claim this system effectively allows polluters unlimited emissions.

PST: Petroleum Storage Tank

PSYCHROPHILE: An organism with an optimum growth temperature less than 20 degrees C.

RECALCITRANT: Resistant to biodegradation.

RCRA: The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Federal legislation (U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 82) adopted in 1976 and substantially amended in 1984 by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments. It is the statutory basis for the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a comprehensive program to control hazardous waste from its generation to its final disposal. The identifies wastes by toxicity and production characteristics, specifies on-site management and storage procedures, limits duration and method of storage, requires pollution prevention, prescribes personnel training content and frequency, establishes treatment, storage and disposal parameters, and specifies shipping requirements.

REDOX POTENTIAL: The oxidation-reduction potential of an environment. Measures the tendency of the environment to be reducing (donate electrons) or oxidizing (accept electrons)

REDUCTIVE DECHLORINATION: Removal of Cl as Cl- from an organic compound by reducing the carbon atom from C-Cl to C-H.

RESPIRATION: Energy yielding metabolism in which oxygen is the terminal electron acceptor for substrate oxidation.

RHIZOFILTRATION: Uptake of contaminants by the roots of plants immersed in water. When the roots are saturated with contaminants they are harvested.

RHIZOPLANE: The surface of plant roots.

RHIZOSPHERE: Soil in the area surrounding plant roots that is influenced by the plant root. Typically a few millimeters or at most centimeters from the plant root. Important because this area is higher in nutrients and thus has a higher and more active microbial population.

SAPONIFICATION: The act of soap-making. Specifically refers to the neutralization of fats by alkalis. When cleaning a surface that contains food fats with a caustic degreaser, one cleaning mechanism that occurs during this process is saponification. In remediation this process can be detrimental or possibly beneficial depending upon the overall application. There are many remediation contractors who use (saponification) caustic degreasers on hydrocarbon contamination then follow with the addition of water. This effectively makes soap out of the hydrocarbon pollution then subsequently washes it away. The mistake is made when the contractor takes TPH tests after the process and mistakenly believes the TPH has dropped. The hydrocarbon contamination is still present and has only been spread out further. Although caustics can be good for cleaning hydrocarbons, depending upon the pH these may not be good for the environment. For bioremediation a delicate balance is needed. Alabaster Corp. products are designed to maintain an appropriate balance between cleaning ability and bioremediation ability.

SOPONIFIERS: These are powerful basic or alkaline chemicals that transform fats and oils into natural soaps. This is the same chemical reaction used in making soaps. The process is called saponification. Once the hydrocarbons are converted to soap they become soluble in water or solvents and can be dispersed.

SHELF LIFE: The length of time an unopened product will remain effectively or practically unchanged in its container after packaging. Typically shelf life is not a problem with Alabaster Corp. cleaning products. They will remain in good condition for well over three years. Microbial products have a shorter shelf life.

SIDEROCHROMES: Compounds produced by microorganisms that are involved with the uptake of iron by those microorganisms.

SIDEROPHORES: See siderochromes.

SOLUBILITY: The amount of a substance that will dissolve in a given amount of another substance. For example, mixing an all purpose cleaner with water leads to 100% solubility of the cleaner. Therefore, solubilizing dissolves the waste particle into the solvent so it is no longer solid.

SOLUTION: A single, homogenous liquid that is a mixture in which the components are uniformly distributed throughout.

SOLVENT: A liquid that is capable of dissolving another substance. Many industrial solvents are hazardous and contain contaminates. Alabaster Corp. can bioremediate these. Almost all cleaning requires a solvent. The solvent dissolves the matter and also provides a medium in which to suspend and carry it away from the surface. Water is a natural solvent. If given enough time, water can dissolve and remove almost any type of waste matter whether it is organic, inorganic, or petroleum hydrocarbons. Traditionally the most effective solvents for petroleum hydrocarbon matter are other petroleum distillates. However, effective biodegradable solvent products are becoming more readily available.

SPORES: (bacterial endospores) A metabolically dormant state of bacteria in which they are more resistant to heat, chemicals, etc. (Compare with VEGETATIVE.)

SURFACTANT: These are typical detergents or soaps. The term surfactant means surface active agent. A surfactant works in conjunction with a solvent by breaking the connection between a waste matter and water or another solvent. A surfactant has two chemical properties. One is attracted to water (hydrophilic) and one is attracted to the waste matter (hydrophobic). In a cleaning solution the hydrophobic factor in the surfactant works to attach to and break up the waste matter separating it from the water. The hydrophilic factor in the surfactant projects the waste matter into the solvent causing the waste matter to be broken up and removed from the surface or suspended within the solution. Surfactants can be any natural or synthetic chemical that promotes or enhances the wetting, solubilization, and emulsification of various types of organic chemicals. A surfactant is typically considered a substance, usually a chemical, used for reducing the surface tension of liquids. This can be any agent such as a detergent or a soap that reduces the surface tension of liquids so that the liquid spreads out, instead of collecting in droplets. The Industrial Class Microbial Cleaners manufactured by Alabaster Corp. contain many different surfactant ingredients blended within in order to deal with a much greater range of contaminate materials. This insures our products can effectively break down a large host of contaminates. The surfactants we use break down the surface tension of the hydrocarbon molecules so that they are more conducive to microbial degradation or bioremediation. This is what our product are specifically designed for.

SYNERGISTIC: When in a solution, the effects of the combined individual ingredients are greater than if they were by themselves. This describes Alabaster Corp. Bioremediation products perfectly.

TCE: Trichloroethylene. DNAPL. Toxic and carcinogenic hydrocarbons. Often used in dry cleaning process. Alabaster Corp. products can bioremediate these.

THERMOPHILE: Any organism that has an optimum growth temperature above 45 degrees C.

TCEQ: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The State of Texas Agency responsible for enforcement and monitoring of environmental conditions in the State of Texas. The are the state regulatory entity. See TNRCC.

TPH: Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons: This is the volume or amount of hydrocarbons of all types usually expressed in mg/kg or PPM (parts per million) or PPB (parts per billion.)

TNRCC: Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. Name of the State of Texas environmental regulatory agency before the state legislature changed it into TCEQ. Prior to this the state agency was also known as the TWC or Texas Water Commission and the TGLO Texas General Land Office.

UST: Underground Storage Tank.

VADOSE ZONE: Unsaturated zone of soil above the groundwater, extending from the bottom of the capillary fringe all the way to the soil surface.

VC: Vinyl chloride.

VEGETATIVE: Cells with an active metabolism. Not dormant or SPORES.

VIABLE: Living, or capable of growth.

VISCOSITY: In simple terms it refers to how thick or thin a product is. In actual terms, it's the internal resistance of two liquid layers to flow across each other. This internal resistance is a result of interaction between liquid molecules in motion.

V.O.C.: Volatile Organic Compounds. This is a measure of the non-water solvents that are in a particular product. These are typically flammable and explosive. Most hydrocarbons produce V.O.C. which dissipate into the environment. Many of these are toxic and carcinogenic. Alabaster Corp. products can help encapsulate and emulsify V.O.C. and reduce the flammability as well as begin to bioremediate these compounds.

WILD TYPE-STRAIN: Strain of an organism isolated from nature. The usual or native form of an organism as opposed to a mutant strain.

WITCHES’ KNICKERS: Irish slang for trash plastic bags which have been caught in trees and bushes. South Africans call them the “national flower”, Chinese call them “white pollution”, Alaskans call them tundra ghosts. Some people call them “landfill snowbirds.”

WINOGRADSKY COLUMN: Glass column with an anaerobic lower zone and an aerobic upper zone, which allows growth of microorganisms under conditions similar to those found in nutrient-rich water and sediment.

WEATHERING: All physical and chemical changes produced by atmospheric agents.

WETTING OR PENETRATING AGENTS: There are many types of surfactants available. Depending upon the individual characteristics and chemical composition of the cleaning agent, it may have different abilities or characteristics.

WHITE ROT FUNGI: Fungi that decompose all components of wood. Important because they produce enzymes that are capable of acting on and biodegrading a wide variety of compounds, including many pollutants.

XENOBIOTIC: Compound foreign to biological systems. Often refers to human-made compounds that are resistant or recalcitrant to biodegradation and decomposition.

XEROPHILE: Organism adapted to grow at low water potential, i.e., very dry habitats.

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