The Redfield Ratio is named after Alfred C. Redfield, who first described the ratio in an article in 1934. In 1934 Alfred Redfield analysed thousands of samples of marine biomass from all ocean regions. He found that globally, the elemental composition of marine organic matter (dead and living) was remarkably constant. The ratios of carbon to nitrogen to phosphorus remained the same from coastal to open ocean regions. The elemental ratios he found were:
C:N:P (Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphate) as 116:14:1. This is known collectively as the Redfield Ratio. What Redfield didn't know if this ratio is required in all water around the world to maintain all good healthy life.
Whenever this ratio is broken, Cyanobacteria becomes dominant as microalgae and diatoms cannot compete without this balance in place.
18 years ago Robert Morgan discovered TWC and in his time of treating water what he constantly noticed was wherever he used TWC life began to flourish, where in some cases no life should exist. What Robert didn't know in the early stages of TWC development was he was always balancing the Redfield Ratio which allowed life to flourish in the most unfavourable places.
How do imbalances occur in the Redfield Ratio;
Most of our carbon in water comes from our forests. When we have a rain event water takes the carbon from our land and delivers it to the waters. We have cleared our lands for cities and farmland. When we clear land there can be enough carbon stored for up to 50 years for the rain to keep delivering the carbon to the water. When the carbon runs out this becomes a limiting factor, throwing out the Redfield Ratio, therefore allowing cyanobacteria to become dominant.
With all living things requiring carbon, when it is limited, TWC becomes a carbon source purely available to bacteria. This then allows the limited carbon to become available to microalgae diatoms and wetlands. Revegetation programs around our lakes and rivers are critical in resetting our carbon balance for the future restoration of our waterways.
Biological nitrate is produced from the nitrogen cycle bacteria. Production of nitrate becomes limited with any imbalance within the environment.
This is an essential element for life but in high quantities, it becomes a limiting factor.
TWC resets nitrate production in high phosphate level waters and when no phosphate is available it draws phosphate from algae that use the luxury consumption of phosphate, therefore rebalancing phosphate levels which kick starts nitrate production.