Removal of Nitrogen Compounds Via Plant Biomass Assimilation and Biological Denitrification in a Brackish Wetland System

Thomas Bennett, Christophe Degroote, and Associate Professor Paul Luyster, Biological Sciences Department, Tarrant County College District, South Campus, 5301 Campus Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76119

A simulated brackish wetland system can maintain a healthy level of nitrogen compounds by removing those compounds through plant biomass assimilation and denitrifying anaerobic bacteria activity. Our project aims to create an ecosystem of organisms: animals, plants, and bacteria which, in concert, can use the pathways of the nitrogen cycle to sustain and enhance the growth of all three types of life. The design, prototyped though never completed, is a brackish water (less salty than seawater) multi-tank aquatic system. The system is designed to simulate a brackish wetland. We are most interested in the change over time of nitrogen compound levels, and whether our system can sufficiently control the levels. Water temperature, pH, salinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and dissolved oxygen will be measured at regular intervals, at least once per day. The experiment is expected to run for approximately one month in a lab setting. Examination of a bacteria sample from each tank will be done using microscopy and Gram’s stain. The experiment is on indefinite hiatus since the spring semester of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we hope that our research will lead to advances in agricultural cultivation, water treatment, self-sustaining nitrogen cycle systems, and aquatics as a hobby. It will also serve to obtain data on bacteria involved in the nitrification and denitrification processes. The work of Carl Hodges and The Seawater Foundation was an inspiration for the project.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Thomas Bennett, Christophe Degroote

Institution: Tarrant County College District

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 3
Date/Time: Mon 4:30pm-5:30pm
Session Number: 3014