Biology is a science on life. This definition, concise and most commonly used, is satisfactory for almost everybody. It is otherwise when one asks: What is life? Then it appears that no one feature can be indicated which distinguishes “the living” from “the non-living.” The author presents the sources of these difficulties and then gives his own attempt to solve the problem of definition of live—which is based on the idea of levels of the biological organization. In author’s view, to characterise the objects of research in biology we should apply not one concept of life (or of living organism) but three concepts: of organized biological matter (for the molecular and sub-cellular levels), of living organism (for the level of the specimen), and of life (for the sphere of phenomena which occur on the population-species-biocenotic level).
One of the fundamental problems in evolutionary sciences is the direction of evolution at different levels of matter organization. According to traditional teleological interpretations, the evolving systems should develop toward a final state—a goal. However, in most cases such a goal is not determinable—scientists do not know it. However, they can reveal a general tendency or a series of changes in time: a teleonomy or a directness based mainly upon an internal pattern of the evolving system although modified also by external influences. Teleonomical processes are responsible for all evolutionary processes including transitions from one level of organization to another.
The paper presents the results of experiments on the influence of the organic matter’s characteristics on the formation potential of water chlorination by-products – representatives of the following groups: trihalomethanes, haloacetonitriles, haloketones, chloral hydrate and chloropicrin. The products of water fractionation (the hydrophobic and hydrophilic acids, hydrophobic and hydrophilic bases, and hydrophobic and hydrophilic neutral fractions) were chlorinated with sodium hypochlorite. Its dose was adjusted to obtain a residual free chlorine concentration between 3 and 5 mg/dm3 after 24 h. After this time, the water chlorination by-products were analyzed with gas chromatography. The results’ analysis has defined the fractions, which have the highest potential to form particular groups of volatile organic water chlorination by-products.
The paper addresses the effect of a compost prepared from tobacco wastes with an admixture of bark and straw on the enzymatic activity and certain chemical properties of a grey-brown podzolic soil amended with that compost. The study was conducted under the conditions of a pot experiment in which the soil material was collected from the surface horizon of the grey-brown podzolic soil. The effect of the application of the compost was compared with soil without such amendment. The test plant was maize cv. Kosmo 230. Fertilisation of the light soil with the compost studied caused changes in the enzymatic activity of the soil that were related both to the dose of the compost and to the kind of enzyme studied. With increase in the dose of the compost there was an increase in dehydrogenase activity (highest dose) and a signiﬁcant decrease in the activity of acid phosphatase. Moreover, it was observed that tobacco compost was a signiﬁcant source that enriched the light soil in organic matter, total nitrogen, and available forms of phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, which was evident in increased yields of maize grown as the test plant. Signiﬁcant correlations were also demonstrated between a majority of the biochemical and chemical parameters, which indicates that those parameters characterise well the biological properties of a grey-brown podzolic soil amended with tobacco compost.
The article presents research results of the introduction of powdery activated carbon to the existing technological system of the groundwater treatment stations in a laboratory, pilot plant and technical scale. The aim of the research was to reduce the content of organic compounds found in the treated water, which create toxic organic chlorine compounds (THM) after disinfection with chlorine. Nine types of powdery active carbons were tested in laboratory scale. The top two were selected for further study. Pilot plant scale research was carried out for the filter model using CWZ-30 and Norit Sa Super carbon. Reduction of the organic matter in relation to the existing content in the treated water reached about 30%. Research in technical scale using CWZ-30 carbon showed a lesser efficiency with respect to laboratory and pilot-plant scale studies. The organic matter decreased by 15%. Since filtration is the last process before the individual disinfection, an alternative solution is proposed, i.e. the second stage of filtration with a granular activated carbon bed, operating in combined sorption and biodegradation processes. The results of tests carried out in pilot scale were fully satisfactory with the effectiveness of 70–100%.
In general, Antarctic marine bacteria are small, with biovolumes ranging from 0.139 to 0.204 μm-3 cell-1, but their total biomass in seawater is considerable due to relatively high numbers that approximate to 1020 cells km-3. Bacterial biomass becomes more concentrated closer to land. Our multi-year Antarctic studies demonstrated an average total bacterial biomass of 504 tons in Admirality Bay (24 km3) or 21 tons per 1 km3, versus 6.4 tons per 1 km3 in the open ocean. Strikingly, bacterial biomass reached 330 tons per 1 km3 of seawater at the sea-ice edge, as sampled in Goulden Cove in Admiralty Bay. Bacterial biomass in Admirality Bay, which we believe can be enriched by halotolerant and thermotolerant fresh water bacteria from glacial streams, is equal to or even exceeds that of the standing stock of krill (100-630 tons per bay) or other major living components, including phytoplankton (657 tons), flagellates (591 tons), and ciliates (412 tons). However, the bacterial biomass is exceeded by several orders of magnitude by non-living organic matter, which constitutes the basic bacterial carbon source. Factors regulating high bacterial abundance in the vicinity of land are discussed.
Humic acids, isolated from selected soils of Grønfjorden area (Spitsbergen) were investigated in terms of molecular composition and resistance of decomposition. The degree of soils organic matter stabilization has been assessed with the use of modern instrumental methods (nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (CP/MAS 13C-NMR). Analysis of the humic acids showed that aromatic compounds prevail in the organic matter formed in cryoconites, located on the glaciers surfaces. The predominance of aliphatic fragments is revealed in the soils in tidal zone that form on the coastal terrace. This could be caused by sedimentation of fresh organic matter exhibiting low decomposition stage due to the harsh climate and processes of hydrogenation in the humic acids, destruction of the C-C bonds and formation of chains with a high hydrogen content. These processes result in formation of aliphatic fragments in the humic acids. In general, soils of the studied region characterizes by low stabilized soil organic matter which is indicated by low aromaticity of the HAs.
In the Polish sector of the Magura Nappe have long been known and exploited carbonate mineral waters, saturated with carbon dioxide, known as the “shchava (szczawa)”. These waters occur mainly in the Krynica Subunit of the Magura Nappe, between the Dunajec and Poprad rivers, close to the Pieniny Klippen Belt (PKB). The origin of these waters is still not clear, this applies to both “volcanic” and “metamorphic” hypotheses. Bearing in mind the case found in the Szczawa tectonic window and our geological and geochemical studies we suggest that the origin of the carbon dioxide may be linked with the thermal/pressure alteration of organic matter of the Oligocene deposits from the Grybów Unit. These deposits, exposed in several tectonic windows of the Magura Nappe, are characterized by the presence of highly matured organic matter – the origin of the hydrocarbon accumulations. This is supported by the present-day state of organic geochemistry studies of the Carpathian oil and gas bed rocks. In our opinion origin of the carbon-dioxide was related to the southern, deep buried periphery of the Carpathian Oil and Gas Province. The present day distribution of the carbonated mineral water springs has been related to the post-orogenic uplift and erosion of the Outer (flysch) Carpathians.
The aim of the study was to determine the impact of selected factors on the reduction of organic pollutants, expressed in BOD5 and CODCr, in wastewater treated in a laboratory scale model of moving bed bioﬁlm reactor (MBBR). The factors included in the experiment: the degree of ﬁlling the ﬂuidized bed with biomass carriers, hydraulic load, and aeration intensity. The tested model of the bioreactor consisted of ﬁve independent chambers with diameter D = 0.14 m and height H = 2.0 m, which were ﬁlled with biomass carriers at 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 70% of their active volume. During the test period, hydraulic loads at the level of Qh1 = 0.073 m3·m-2·h-1 and Qh2 = 0.036 m3·m-2·h-1 were applied, which ensured one-day and two-day sewage retention, respectively.The said reactors were subjected to constant aeration at P1 = 3.0 dm3·min-1 and P2 = 5.0 dm3·min-1. The highest efﬁciency of the reduction of the analysed indicators was demonstrated by reactors ﬁlled with carriers in the degree of 40–60%. Based on the statistical analyses (the analyses of the ANOVA variations and the Kruskal-Wallis test) carried out, it was found that the studied factors signiﬁcantly modiﬁed the mutual interaction in the process of reducing BOD5 in treated wastewater of the reactors tested. The signiﬁcance of the impact of the discussed factors on the values of the studied indicators in treated wastewater depends on mutual interactions between the investigated factors.