Technical Bulletin No. 0103: Some Fundamental Factors Involved in River Slime Growth

The attached Technical Bulletin is a report on studies of river slimes carried out by the Council's Rutgers University Project, under the direction of Dr. H. Heukelekian, Chairman of the Department of Sanitation. It summarizes the present knowledge with respect to causative organisms, their ecology and nutrition. In addition, progress in determining the effect of pulping effluents in respect to slime growths, is reported. Examination of samples collected from streams throughout the country indicate that two organisms, one a bacterium and the other a fungus, are responsible for slime Infestations. They appear to grow best under conditions of high dissolved oxygen, low stream temperature, and favor points of high water velocity. Their growth is enhanced by the presence of monosaccharides, as well as the lower fatty acids and alcohols, and they are able to obtain their nitrogen from amino acids. Growths flourish in areas or on particles where attachment can take place such as on rocks, vegetation, logs, bark particles, etc., and are inclined to elongate until either velocity pressure, or internal decomposition cause a partial disintegration of the mass. Areas of study with respect to development of growth control methods, are pointed out. These involve study of the mechanism of chain formation of the originally dispersed bacterial cells, the causes of attachment, and the reason for the stimulating effect of water velocity. Research on these factors is underway.