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This figure represents the bacterial growth pattern in gasoline with and without the FFC over an extended period of time. The CFU count in flask 1 increased until introduction of the FFC and then decreased with time, while flask 2 with no FFC continues to show bacterial growth. In this investigation the researchers constructed an experiment that would measure the effect the presence of Fitch Fuel Catalyst (FFC) has on a bacteria known to degrade or breakdown fuels.

Materials and MethodsTwo bacterial strains Pseudomonas oleovorans (PO) and Rhodococcus rhodochrous (RR) were selected for study. Freeze dried Pseudomonas oleovorans (ATCC29347) and Rhodococcus rhodocrous (ATCC29672) were grown in organic medium to initiate growth and verify strains. To begin adaptation of the bacteria to a petroleum carbon source, the bacteria were each grown in 50:50 salts/bacterial growth medium containing 1% gasoline (Texaco 87 octane). Growth of the bacteria were monitored by plate count method. The number of colony forming units (CFU) were counted to determine a growth curve over several days to several weeks.

PO is representative of the psychotropic bacteria, those with the preference for lower temperatures and commonly found in fuels. Most bacteria that people are familiar with are the mesophilic bacteria. These require temperatures of 30oC - 40oC for growth.

The particular Ps. oleovorans we obtained from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) had been previously isolated from machine shop cutting oils and demonstrated to be capable of utilizing alkanes. The species has also been isolated in petroleum contaminated Arctic soils. Cultures containing fuel were prepared by adding gasoline to 50 ml of Bushnell Haas Broth Salts solution (no carbon source) to 125-ml screw-cap culture flasks. The FFC was inserted into one flask on day 10. The figure shows the growth of bacteria in the presence of 2 % gasoline over a 14 day period. The growth of bacteria, counted as number of "colony forming units" initially increased until the FFC was added to culture 1 on day 10. Thereafter, growth of the bacteria subsided to a level below that of the control bacteria in gasoline without presence of the FFC.


Refineries, where fuel is manufactured from crude oil, cannot remove many poorly performing molecules to make an ideal fuel. In addition, once fuel leaves the refinery or is stored it is subject to attack by oxygen, ozone, and microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, and mold) that grow in the fuel. All these processes degrade the fuel to make a poorer product that prevents engines from performing at optimum levels. This poor fuel does not combust completely in engines and does not yield its maximum potential energy. Some of it forms carbonaceous deposits and gums, and some is not completely burned putting unburned hydrocarbons into the exhaust. Over time, engines develop problems caused by sub-optimal fuel. These include gumming and constriction of fuel systems and carbon deposits in the combustion chamber and exhaust system.

Chemical Studies Chemical studies on gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel have been carried out for several years by APSI using an analytical technique called gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy, abbreviated GC/MS. Tests at Oak Ridge National Labs showed increases in concentration of certain molecules in gasoline treated by the FFC that increase octane rating. More recently chemical studies have been carried out at the University of Connecticut at Storrs (UCONN). Distinguished Professor Steven Suib's group has carried out most of the experiments at our direction pursuant to a cooperative research contractual arrangement. We have recently unequivocally demonstrated using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (N.M.R.) that at room temperature, molecular changes occur in diesel, jet, and gasoline fuels. We have not completed mapping all of the molecules involved but it appears that certain groups are migrating to change the molecular structures, and that acids are co-catalysts for these reactions.

Acids occur in hydrocarbon fuels for a variety of reasons. Some are formed during refining. Other acids are due to reactions with atmospheric oxygen in processes called auto-oxidation. A third pathway is via microorganisms. Just as some microorganisms turn sugar into ethyl alcohol and other microorganisms turn ethyl alcohol into vinegar (acetic acid) there are microorganisms that process hydrocarbon fuels. Many of the end products of these bio-reactions are acids. In addition to studies of molecular changes, we are investigating two other areas of interest which are the effect of FFC on microorganisms and the capacity of the FFC to regenerate fuel that has been auto-oxidized.

To demonstrate regeneration of aged fuel we turn to the ASTM D 525-01 Oxidation Stability Test Method for Gasoline. In this test a gasoline sample is subjected to oxygen under heat and pressure. The pressure is observed while monitoring the time. When the pressure "drops", the time elapsed allows calculation of the induction period. The shorter the induction time, the more highly oxidized is the gasoline. Conversely, the longer the induction period the less oxidized is the fuel.

The better the fuel, the longer is the induction period.

Two ASTM D 525 tests performed by Paragon Labs on induction period times, in minutes provide evidence of the FFC's effectiveness in improving the oxidation stability of gasoline. The Baseline report gives the induction period on a sample of NY Gasoline (127002-1) as 255 minutes. This is at or near the limit allowed for gasoline to be sold and used. The second test gives the induction period of the same NY Gasoline + FFC formulation Catalyst C for a period of 24 hours at 405 minutes and after 1 week of treatment as 390 minutes. This represents a remarkable regeneration of the fuel.

In an experiment that took place over the course of 6 months at UCONN bacterial strains were chosen that would grow in gasoline. One of these, Pseudomonas Oleovorens (PO) was cultured on growth medium with 2% gasoline before the FFC was added on the 10th day. The FFC effectively suppresses the growth of PO as evidenced in the 2 and 8 week observations.

Tests On Fuel Quality And The Influence of the Fitch Fuel Catalyst on Bacterial Growth in Gasoline
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