What is seed and how is it used in the BOD dilution method?

Document ID

Document ID TE175

Published Date

Published Date 08/18/2020
What is seed and how is it used in the BOD dilution method?
Using seed in BOD analysis
The term seed refers to microorganisms that consume the biodegradable organic matter in samples for BOD measurement. If not enough seed is present, all of the biodegradable matter may not be consumed and results will not be accurate. Seed requires proper pH and temperature control, and nutrients such as phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium for proper growth. Hach nutrient buffer pillows provide the necessary nutrients and pH. The best source of seed that gives the most reproducible results is domestic wastewater (influent) or effluent from biological water treatment plants before disinfection. Other sources such as industrial wastewater may not have enough microorganisms, or may contain toxins that prevent the organisms from growing. If wastewater is not available, prepare a seed solution from a freeze-dried capsule such as PolySeed. Whatever source of seed is used, it will exert some demand. Therefore a seed control must be measured to correct for this demand.

When determining BOD, it is necessary to have a population of microorganisms that can oxidize (or consume)the biodegradable organic matter present in the sample. If there is too little seed present in the sample, complete consumption of biodegradable matter may not occur, resulting in inaccurate results. In samples such as influent samples and effluent waters prior to disinfection, this is not a problem as the sample will contain sufficient bacteria to do the job. However, in certain sample types such as some industrial wastes, high temperature wastes, and treated effluent, there is not enough bacterial activity to consume the material that is present. In those cases, seed must be added Seed is simply a solution that contains a sufficient population of bacteria. Hach offers PolySeed, a seed capsule that can be added to samples. DO uptake of seeded dilution water should be between 0.6-1.0 mg/L.

The Hach Technical Bluebook 'Introduction to Biochemical Oxygen Demand' provides more information on BOD.

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