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[APD] RE: Organic material composition

> [Original Message]
> From: Steve Pushak <teban at powersonic_bc.ca>
> To: APD <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>
> Cc: Thomas Barr <tcbiii at earthlink_net>; Paul Krombholz
<krombhol at teclink_net>
> Date: 1/6/2004 10:18:58 AM
> Subject: Organic material composition
> On Friday Jan 2, Thomas wrote:
> > Plant and soil OM:
> > water soluble fraction ,10%, amino acids, sugars, fatty acids
> > Cellulose 15-60%
> > Hemicellulose 10-30%
> > Lignin 5-30%
> > Proteins 2-15%
> > Lipids and waxes 1-8%
> > Ash 1-13%
> > Generally the chemical constituents are groups into:
> > Non humic substances: carb's proteins and fats
> > Phenolics lignins/tannins
> > Humics
> The classification hierarchy (groupings) is not clear; could you
elaborate a
> little?

The water soluble fraction is highly labile. 
Cellulose/hemicellulose slightly labile
Some protiens/lipids/waxes not very labile 
Lignin indexes are often use for long term storge of carbon/peat accreation
rates etc.  

> Are you saying that plant & soil OM relative compositions are the same?

Yes, plants/algae are the sources for the OM. 
The forms and reminerlaization process will eventuaslly lead to OM.

> would guess that the simple carbohydrates would break down more readily
> the lignin.

Yes, they have a number of methods to measure Lignin indexes.
Also they use cotton fibers to measure the break down rates/decomposition
rates for Cellulose and hemicellulose.
Enzymes are well studied in decompositional processes of the associated

> Is there a lability index for these materials? How do we measure how
> they break down & the decomposition products?

Yes, each material has an index and rate of decomposition.
The rate is dependent typical on several variables.

> Are alcohols the worst organic toxins? What about acetic acid or other
> carboxylic acids?

Nope these are food for the next layers of bacteria which depend on the
fermentors to produce these organic carbon forms(Sulfur reducers and
Generally a bad thing in the aquarium, some iron reducers and denitrifiers
are the main ones we want and we buffer the Redox by adding laterite/iron
sources and penlums for some Reef tanks and other methods to create a good
place for denitrifiers without sulfur reduction and fermentation. 
Adding OM to the mix will lower the redox but if you do not add much, the
iron will buffetr the redox value and prevent sulfur reduction.  

> How common are carbonyl decomposition products? (aldehydes & ketones) or
> these tend to be short-lived intermediary products in an oxygen rich
> environment?

Well some of these groups are complexed or bound to other compounds and MAY
become available, some are used and processed by bacteria faster.

> Thomas, if you are looking for a stable N compound which can be kept
> a clay pellet or ball, what is wrong with ammonium-nitrate? Inside the
> ball, the concentration of ammonia is high but plants seem to have little
> problem safely extracting the nutrients from a clay ball! I've used
> ammonium-nitrate fertilizers extensively in my clay balls (See analysis of
> 14-14-14 Osmocote). I may switch to pure ammonium-nitrate to increase the
> N:P ratio. P is plentiful in any tank with fish or in the reducing
> environment of an organic substrate with mineral phosphates.

I want something that is less likely to by pulled out of the sbstrate into
Something tighly bound, unavailable unless the root bores into the
ball/tablet etc. Some new folks moving stuff around will not get the NH4
into the water column.

> Simple amines seem to be too volatile or toxic for use as fertilizer.
> Another possibility could be aminoacetic acid (glycine), a simple amino
> acid. See
> <http://www.chemicalland21.com/arokorhi/lifescience/foco/GLYCINE.htm>
> There are many types of proteins which could be harvested & decomposed to
> produce amino acids & ammonia. I think that protein decomposition cannot
> occur without diverse soil bacteria & organic material. Sequestering hair
> within clay would not work for example. It seems to me that protein
> decomposition might be too slow to produce sufficient nitrogen for aquatic
> plants. Labile protein decomposition (bits of liver?) might be a
> possibility; I think Paul has used this in the past.

I'm not sure yet and have not looked too much just yet. 
I know who to bug though. Argriculture would like something like this also
since 50% of the NH4 is converted to NO3 and N2 gas. If farmers can keep it
in the NH4 form, they can conserve more fertilizer and not worry about
denitrification losses.   
If you could reduce 25% your fertilizer cost, they'd beat a path to your
But I think it cost too much on a large scale just yet.
But my issues is being able to have a high level ofNH4 available for the
aquatic plants, not terrestrials which can have higher NH4 available to

Tom Barr

> There is something called "Poly-Amine S-525" which is described as a
> nutrient enhancer not a fertilizer. See
> <http://www.nap-chem.com/LABELS_PDF/O_P/129_Poly_Amine_S_525_Label.pdf>
> Another fertilizer is Ammonium ThioSulphate (ATS). Sorry, not much help.
> Steve P

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