Probiotics for the Planet
In 1977, Mr. Juan M. Morales moved to Austin, Texas, planning to ease into semi-retirement from a 20-year career as a mechanical engineer in the sheet-metal industry. Instead, two years later, a growing concern for the environment and a keen interest in microbiology led him to establish an environmental company in 1979. Today, Micro-Bac International Inc.® has facilities and business interests throughout the world and is renowned for its innovative solutions to complex environmental problems.
In 1981, Micro-Bac® conducted its first commercial application, the biotreatment of a 75-acre municipal sludge oxidation pond. On the basis of this success, the company incorporated in 1982 to conduct research on useful metabolic activities and by-products of naturally occurring microorganisms. Today, Micro-Bac® manufactures products for crude oil bioremediation and other forms of hazardous waste bioremediation, microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR) and wastewater treatment including food processing and animal waste collection systems.
Incorporated in 1982, Micro-Bac International, Inc. ® is a privately owned biotechnology company that specializes in the research, development, and manufacturing of biological products to a diverse group of market segments in the energy and environmental industry. To appreciate why these bacterial products are important, one must first understand the basic processes of nature. Bacteria – nature’s housekeepers – have existed since life began. They work silently and diligently at a microscopic level to degrade organic matter (leftover food, dead creatures, animal wastes) into usable substances like water, soil, and nutrients.
In 1986, Micro-Bac developed the first microbial products to provide successful, long-term control of paraffin, corrosion, and scale downhole and in subsequent oil field systems. 1991, Mr. Morales and other staff members were honored with a Special Meritorious Award for Engineering Innovation by Hart’s Petroleum Engineer International magazine, and in 1995, Para-Bac products were recognized as Best New Technology by Hart’s Oil and Gas World magazine. This year Micro-Bac is introducing three new product lines to expand its reach into its current markets and maintain its position as the leader in biotechnology for the environment.
The idea is a simple one: use natural processes to give nature a hand. But the technology necessary to produce a viable product to augment natural biological degradation is complex. Nature has millions of different species of bacteria. They do not all metabolize the same things. The need for oxygen, certain temperature ranges, and moisture varies from one type of bacteria to another.
Beneficial bacteria must be isolated from nature and evaluated to determine what biochemical’s they produce and what contaminants they can degrade. They must be given the correct nutrients and a proper environment. Once mass quantities are “manufactured”, the bacteria are returned to nature where the problems are greatest. Because of their increased number, specific diet, and hearty constitution, they can tackle big jobs.
Micro-Bac’s microbial product lines contain specific strains of bacteria selected for their unique appetite. Numerous strains can be combined for their ability to established synergistic ecosystems that enhance their treatment capabilities. Through its own research and development, Micro-Bac has developed an impressive (and growing) collection of strains designed for applications related to improving petroleum production; reducing wastes in food processing and agriculture; treatment of sewage and waste water; and remediation of contaminated or hazardous substances. Each microbial strain meets three basic product standards: they are non-pathogenic; they are not derived by recombinant DNA technology (genetically engineered); and above all, they are safe to use.
All biological solutions available from Micro-Bac® are the result of tackling real problems brought to us by our customers. Micro-Bac maintains its leadership role in environmental biotechnology by continuing to develop and manufacture microbes that offer beneficial alternatives to traditional treatments. For industry and the environment, Micro-Bac products provide a safe, efficient and economical alternative to traditional problem-solving methods. We take pride in our non-chemical, low carbon imprint products.
Gaining acceptance for biological treatment has been a goal since the start. In 1991, Hart’s Petroleum Engineer International magazine recognized Micro-Bac®’s Para-Bac™ product as an innovative oil field technology. Micro-Bac® has also conducted research for the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) to provide technology for waste remediation during space missions. Further, Micro-Bac® microbes comply with EPA standards – they are natural and nonpathogenic, and they do not involve genetic engineering.
For half a century, researchers pursued the improvement of petroleum production through microbiology. Not until the introduction of Para-Bac™ in 1986 has there been a successful biological product to lower operating costs, reduce downtime, improve physical characteristics of oil, and increase production.
Now production operators worldwide are using environmentally safe, low carbon imprint, sound, cost-effective alternatives to conventional methodologies such as hot-oiling, steam and chemicals.
The action of Para-Bac™ products is the result of metabolism in selected microbes. By taking advantage of natural by-products (biosurfactants, organic acids, ketones, and alcohols) and by combining strains that work in harmony, the microbes accomplish different treatment goals.
When Para-Bac™ was first introduced, only one bacterial blend was available for paraffin control. As the use of Para-Bac™ expanded, production operators reported other beneficial effects, including increased production, and control of scale and corrosion. Within a short time, Micro-Bac®’s research scientists began formulating new, more specialized products that targeted solubilization of varied paraffin carbon chains.
Micro-Bac Global Connections
Today, Para-Bac products are used for MEOR applications in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Asia and Europe. In 1994, Micro-Bac International, Inc., established a joint-venture business with Micro-Park Microbe Engineering Co., Ltd., in the People’s Republic of China, having its own manufacturing facility and also providing oil field service and maintenance for Chinese producers. In 1999, Micro-Park performed the first successful pilot program for waterflood applications in China.
Micro-Bac de Venezuela, a subsidiary of Micro-Bac International, Inc., was founded in June of 1995. Working with PDVSA (formerly Lagovens), Para-Bac MEOR treatments have been used successfully in several Lake Maracaibo reservoirs with increases in oil productions of 50 to 200% in some instances.
Micro-Bac Product Line
One of the keys to success for Micro-Bac International, Inc., is exceptional technical support, providing sophisticated in-house laboratory testing and contract research for its customers. In fact, prior to most field applications, pre-treatment evaluations are required to accurately determine the treatability of the substance. From its earliest beginnings, Micro-Bac’s continuing dedication to research and development has led to a broad range of microbiological products, including:
The Para-Bac™ family of bacterial products is used to control paraffin, corrosion, and scale in producing oil wells. These products have also been used for enhanced oil recovery, squeezes, and water floods. Above ground, Para-Bac products help in production facilities to keep tanks, separators, and flow lines clean.
Food Processing and Restaurant Operations:
Mega-Bac® bacterial products degrade grease, fats, oils, and other organic substances to control waste and grease accumulations and to reduce the need for pumping and disposal.
Contaminated or Hazardous Wastes:
The M-1000® products are used to augment in situ or ex situ bioremediation, sludge lagoons, land farming, pump and treat systems, bioreactors, soil washing, waste minimization, and tank cleaning.