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SANITATION

WASTEWATER BIOFILMS IN MOSQUITO BIOCYCLE SUPPORT


MECHANISM
INTRODUCTION Satisfying all growth factors, microbial cells can utilize the existing nutrient
The indiscriminate discharge of wastewater into receiving environment in the wastewater to multiply and form numerous cells, including the
is a major cause of threat in public health. This practice is a common formation of films composed of community and population of cells both in
phenomenon in most African Countries and other countries around the linear and stratum format. This becomes the basis of the eventual
world. The status or quality of public health is determined by the increase in surface tension of the water system to allow for the landing of
existence of proper and effective communication and regulation as mosquitoes and other flying insects. This also makes egg laying, egg
regards handling and control of wastewater and other classes of waste. nursing and nurturing very easy, achievable and successful.
Liquid waste forms amongst other nature of waste is a good medium for
growth and proliferation of vectors of parasites and other pathogenic
microorganisms, known to cause harm to man and the environment.
TRANSFORMATION IN WASTEWATER
All conditions being optimal, the survival of pathogenic organisms, Transformation in wastewater occurs in the physical, chemical and
vectors and other harmful life forms to human health is known to be at a biological characteristics. Wastewater system flow ability or stagnancy
higher Aniediabasi
*Peter level. Viability of John:
the biocycle of these
Ecolegal pathogens
Services depends
Nigeria on the
Limited – 2007also contributes to the nature and speedResearch
of transformation of wastewater
& Environomics
availability of optimal biophysico-chemical factors, known to enhance characteristics. As earlier mentioned, disturbance of wastewater does not
growth and proliferation of organisms. One very important organism is allow steady and prolonged transformation, but permits slow
the Plasmodium parasite carried by the female anopheles mosquito. transformation because of the interruption from other environmental
Other than this, other well known and researched organism are the factors and components. For effective surface skating on wastewater,
Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, Actinomycetes, Helminthes and the parasites. there is a need to have a surface tension, in the form a thin film layer
strong enough to hold micro-weights like mosquitoes and other insects. In
The nature of the above listed organisms are such that they require other words, the uptrust from the thin film is normally good enough to
liquid medium to survive, most especially in transfer of nutrient and withstand the maximum weight of any landing object. Mosquitoes, for
other growth components including free ions. Fluid with relatively example are practically observed to exist in there millions without sinking,
higher nutrient value enhances the growth and excessive division of due to the presence of surface thin films. This has never being the events
organisms though some organisms require lower nutrient value to still of interest, but it has been a general practice to fumigate rooms and
perform same level of activity as the former. enclosures inhabited by human, while the sources remain undisturbed.

The transformation of accumulated wastewater in an environment


depends on the existence of microbial community and population. The
WASTEWATER presence of nutrient in the accumulated wastewater allows for growth of
Wastewater is considered a good nutrient broth for growth and microbial cells. The microbial community varies in species, with the
selective/differential isolation of microorganisms if properly used. The pioneers cells starting up the community. They are known to commence
components of a typical wastewater may not be ascertained, but it is the catabolic actions to set loose the complex and intact nutrient material.
considered to contain nutrient, water, microorganism, toxic component, This breakdown results in the formation of loosed single chemical nutrients
debris etc. Fresh wastewater differs in composition when compared to which can be assimilated by other forms of microbial cells. Other than the
aged wastewater. In addition to the components listed earlier, aged loosed nutrients, metabolic end products from the enzymatic breakdown
wastewater also contains enzymes and diverse microbial population can also serve as nutrients for other cells in the system, thereby changing
and community. This is a clear ground for synergism in microbial the species dominating the community. This can be different in conditions
community/population and catabolism of nutrient and debris in the where there multi-enzyme producers, known to secret more than one type
presence of water. of enzyme in a complex ecosystem.

Considering the sources of wastewater, it is possible to determine the Also known are ‘gel producers’ or what is known as capsule producers,
components of wastewater. This can also inform the appropriate which are the major partakers in the formation of thin films; Biofilms.
treatment protocol to be designed for the each class of wastewater if Though research has shown that biofilm formation can be traced to the
required. Untreated wastewater allowed to free enter into the component of the nutrient in which microbial cells are subjected to; Sugar
environment forms a temporary pond, which can remain for as long as component. Phytoplanktons are also observed to contribute to the nutrient
the water remains undisturbed. The non disturbance of the accumulated supply system in such ecosystem. The photosynthetic ability of
water is a major physical factor that determines the maximal growth and phytoplankton makes it possible for them to produce carbohydrate
survival of inhabiting organisms. Systems such as this are recharged by components, which can be released into the ecosystem, when the cell
precipitation or repeated disposal into same system over time. Agitation decays. This activity can be delayed or stopped when the amount of light
of the accumulated water system or continuous flow of same system getting into the water system is reduced towards zero. This is determined
can reduce the survival rate of inhabiting organisms as well as the by the volume of opaque debris and thin film thickness. In some cases,
introduction of toxic/cidal chemical. algal mats (algal bloom) are formed as a result of ‘euthrification’.
In the absence of algal mats, thin films are maintained in the system, BIOFILM AS SUPPORT MECHANISM
which can be a safety coat to avoid easy predation from higher Biofilms are basically carbohydrate complexes formed from the activity of
organisms. Considering that an accumulated wastewater is a batch capsule producing cells. When this is done over time, they form slimy and
system, it will obey the ‘one step growth curve’ principle of microbial life glossy layer that advances laterally in both vertical and horizontal layers.
cycle. Below are the three major characteristics and there relevance in This materials when formed aids easy attachment to water surface, giving
wastewater transformation processes. the attaching organism a better chance of survival.

Physical: The existence of Biofilms is rather an advantage to mosquito survival. It is


The major physical transformation in accumulated wastewater is the also observed to be a survival and support mechanism for mosquitoes at
formation of thin film (biofilm) by microorganisms. In most cases where various stages of their biocycle. Wastewater is good medium for the
there are solid surfaces in the system, microbes also colonize the formation of biofilms. The composition of the wastewater determines the
surfaces, forming glossy and slimy coats on the surface. This process species of organism to colonise the system. It also determines the nature
takes some time to achieve. Literatures have revealed that the quantity of synergism and the corresponding product of metabolism. This can be
of sugars determine the possibility of capsule formation, since the major described as a selective or differential medium for the growth and
component of the capsule is carbohydrate. The thickness and the time proliferation of cells. This eventually results in the formation of Biofilms,
taken for the formation of the film depend on the nutrient availability and which at the end of the process act as support and survival mechanism for
relative population of film producers. Thin films are both useful and mosquitoes.
dangerous. Other than creating better landing grounds for landing, they
can also cause suffocation of organisms as a result of oxygen reduction This is a clear relationship between the wastewater characteristics and the
from the water atmosphere interphase. spread of plasmodium ad increase cases of malaria. Public health is a
major component that requires extensive attention. Problems and risk
Chemical: associated with public health can be easily tackled with the presence of an
The initial stage in the chemical component of the wastewater may be elimination strategy, which may not necessarily be direct, but most time
described as complex chemical environment, where nutrients are in indirect. Most indirect strategies end up alleviating the problems in
their intact and unassimilated form. The complex nutrient form synergy. This is why wastewater should be given due attention with best
undergoes an enzyme mediated catabolism, which results in the management practice in place.
formation of simple and easy to assimilate forms. These simple nutrient
forms are made available for further utilization by some microbial cell for
the formation of metabolites which are further utilized by another WAY FORWARD
community of microorganisms. This string of events brings about the Mosquitoes can be eliminated if proper wastewater management system
synergistic relationship in the ecosystem. It is registered that for each is put in place. There is a need to have in place a functional and
organism involve in this relationship, a simple batch cycle is achieved, operational wastewater treatment plant in various communities to tackle
after which a new set of organisms proliferate for the utilization of the the risk and cushion the negative impacts associated with the mis –
released metabolites by a previously dominating organisms. This chain management of wastewater.
succession occurs until the nutrient value of the system depletes or the
ecosystem is taken over by larger organisms, known to feed on cells Existing strategy that are put in place, will support the ‘Roll Back Malaria’
and vectors. The climax in the formation process of the films resumes program, which many countries are signatory to. Other than this program,
brings about the formation of breeding ground for reproduction of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which emphasises on health,
mosquitoes for more plasmodium nursing and transfer. disease spread and environmental sustainability is also inline with proper
and effective wastewater management plan. Once these plans are
Biological: adopted, it will amend the sanitation problems in our communities. It is
The only biological factor is the existence of other higher organism absolute that to achieve these plans, proper communication and regulation
which determines the survival of the cells and the vectors. Once there is strategy should be perfected.
a sign of life in the ecosystem, here is bound to be a natural formation
of food chain, which is changing paradigm. Cells can survive in the
absence of pressure, predation and the presence of toxic/poisonous
substances. The presence of phytoplankton attracts the presence of
insects. The attraction of insects brings about the existence of other
larger organisms. This natural process continues till stability is formed.
Stability of the ecosystem can also be achieved when there is an
existence of a non-toxin producing organism or poisonous metabolite
production. Once there is a balance and good relationship in the types
of organisms in the ecosystem and their relative population size in the
system. Many other biological factors can be used, but they all have a
link with either life support or bio-cidal actions on other organisms.

MOSQUITO BIOCYCLE
Mosquitoes are best described as ‘flying syringes’ and are populated in
the tropics. It is the major vector of plasmodium, the causative organism
for malaria. In Africa, malaria remains tone of the killer infection, which
is known to cause most of mother and child mortality cases. The
existence of malaria bring about other conditions, such as fever, PETER ANIEDIABASI JOHN
nausea, lost of appetite, aches and pains amongst other conditions. The CHIEF MANAGING CONSULTANT
survival rate of mosquitoes depends on the environmental conditions
such as availability of stagnant water. The survival of plasmodium
depends on the survival of mosquitoes. This relationship is a
determining factor to spread of malaria.

Female mosquitoes carry premature and unfertilized eggs in their


cocoon, incubating them for fertilization and onward storage in a
convenient and undisturbed ecosystem for growth and transformation.
Eggs simply transforms into pupae and pupae to larvae, which finally
transforms into fully matured mosquito. This cycle is time dependent
and be delayed, terminated or enhanced, depending on the
environmental condition or factors. At an optimal condition, the bio-
forms in the cycle attach itself to the surface film, thereby remaining
afloat for proximity to respiratory gases and food. The number of the
egg layers will eventually determine the expected population of the
resulting mosquitoes after all.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT UNIT
ECOLEGAL SERVICES NIGERIA LIMITED
PORT HARCOURT - NIGERIA.

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