OK. Today is the day for the WayBack Machine. And, that will be true for a whole bunch of reasons.
Way back when I was first starting out as a chemical engineer, I had the opportunity to meet some pioneers in the field of bioengineering. No, this time I don’t mean the medical version of bioengineering- but the biochemical types. Drs. Arnie Demain, Elmer Gaden, Art Humphrey, Danny Wang.
Some 40 years ago, we developed a strain of microbes that converted ammonia to nitrogenous gases. The goal was to find a way to augment a waste treatment system’s ability to purify the water. Oh, we found uses for it at many facilities. Not the least of which were seasonal facilities that handled poultry wastes. (These facilities ramped up to handle the demand for turkeys around Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the ambient temperatures were pretty low. That meant the normal capabilities of a system to biologically remove ammonia were greatly diminished.)
Way, way back in 1928, Arthur Fleming, who was working at St. Mary’s Hospital, found a contaminant amongst his petri dishes laden with Staphylococcus aureus. It’s not unusual for microbial petri dishes to be contaminated- and we continually strive to improve our practices to insure this is not the case. (It certainly was more prevalent in the past.)