Elevator Shaft Odor Control

Elevator Shaft Odor Control

Elevator shafts have a number of odor problems, including urine and feces. These problems can be solved by using beneficial microorganisms such as those contained in Custom GT Tabs. 

Here’s a link to a white paper about the bioremediation of odors. Bioremediation of Odors for Elevator Shafts.

Custom GT tabs contain specifically selected beneficial bacteria. These bacteria were chosen because of CustomBio20.pngtheir ability to rapidly metabolize the organic materials, such as urine, that cause  the odors. Unlike chemical masking agents, bioremediation of odors actually digests and eliminates the odors.

The bioremediation of odors has a number of industrial applications such as: elevator shaft odor control, car wash recycle water odor control and oil water separators.

GT Tabs and Odor Control

Custom Biologicals’ GT Tabs product is a live synergistic blend of selected microorganisms specifically chosen for their ability to rapidly metabolize organic material into carbon dioxide and water. The bacteria in Gt Tabs actually digests and eliminates the odor at its source rather than merely masking or attempting to chemically neutralize the odor.

GT Tabs controls odor in different ways depending upon the origin of the odor. If the odor is produced by indigenous bacterial decomposition of organic material such as sewage or urine, the bad odors are produced because bacteria incompletely oxidize and degrade organic compounds, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and starches instead of completely oxidizing them to carbon dioxide and water.

In this instance, GT Tabs works on a competitive principle called competitive inhibition. By applying GT Tabs, selected microorganisms are added at approximately one million times the concentration of the indigenous bacteria. The microorganisms in GT Tabs utilize essentially all of the available organic material and oxidize it to carbon dioxide and water. The indigenous bacteria are so outnumbered that they cannot successfully compete for available organic material. This greatly restricts their growth and also greatly diminishes the emission of organic compounds that produce the characteristic odor. The small amount of incompletely oxidized organic material that they may still produce is quickly utilized by the microorganisms in GT Tabs further reducing the odor.

Examples of this type of activity would be wastewater or sewage treatment plants, elevator shafts, lift stations, oxidation ponds, trash cans, dumpsters, pet areas, kitchen areas, carpets, nursing homes, locker rooms, sewage treatment systems, and restrooms.

If the odor is caused simply by, the presence of an organic compound the microorganisms in GT Tabs will rapidly degrade the organic chemicals destroying the odor. Examples of this type would be non-hydrocarbon chemical spills, industrial wastewater, agricultural waste, fish and other food preparation.

Another major odor problem is the production of hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) from sulfur containing amino acids. All of the microorganisms in GT Tabs degrade sulfur containing amino acids without producing hydrogen sulfide, and, in fact, utilize some hydrogen sulfide in growth.

All of the bacterial species utilized in GT Tabs are Class 1 bacteria, as defined by the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). Class 1 bacteria are, by definition, non-pathogenic and non-opportunistic. These organisms are safe and will not cause infections or ill effects in humans, animals or plants. The United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved this blend of organisms for use in USDA federally inspected facilities, including food production plants. Each organism has been approved by the microbiologists at the USDA laboratory and every production batch is certified to be Salmonella-free.


Bacteria are considered prokaryotic organisms as their genetic material is not enclosed in a special nuclear membrane and they normally reproduce by the process of binary fission, one cell asexually splitting into two. Bacterial cells may be spherical or spiral but the majority are rod shaped (cylindrical) and are about one micron wide and 2 microns long. One micron equals 0.001 millimeter. For classification and identification purposes, bacteria can be divided into two large groups, Gram positive or Gram negative, depending on their reaction to a specialized staining procedure.

Microbial Growth Requirements


Bacteria as living organisms have certain chemical and physical growth requirements. The basic knowledge of these requirements is especially important in considering bioremediation and odor control.


  1. An Energy Source – This is needed primarily for biosynthetic reactions to make polymers for the bacterial cell such as proteins from amino acids and RNA and DNA from nucleotides. Some bacteria can utilize light energy, however the ones that we are concerned with oxidize chemical compounds to obtain their energy. The bacteria in F-TREAT are chemoorganotrophs as they utilize organic compounds for their energy source. The bacteria in F-TREAT completely oxidize the organic compounds using them as an energy source by removing hydrogen from the compound and transferring it to oxygen to form water, as show below:


C6H12O6 + 6O2  = 6CO2 + 6H20 + energy


The organic material is completely oxidized and converted from a solid to a gas (CO2). If the organic material is incompletely oxidized, as with facilitative anaerobic and anaerobic bacteria, the organic compound that acts as the hydrogen acceptor usually has a bad odor.


  1. A Carbon Source – Carbon is required for all of the polymeric units in the cell such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. Some bacteria can utilize carbon dioxide as a sole carbon source; however, the organisms concerned with odor control are heterotrophs, as they require an organic source of carbon.
  2. A Nitrogen Source – Bacteria are very versatile as to their nitrogen source as they can use atmospheric nitrogen (gas), ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and organic nitrogen. Nitrogen is a component in the amino acids of proteins and in the purines and pyrimidines of RNA and DNA.
  3. A Phosphorus Source – Phosphate is a component of the nucleotides composing RNA and DNA and is required in energy transfer reactions.
  4. A Mineral Source – Minerals such as magnesium, manganese, iron, and essentially every thing listed on your daily vitamin and mineral tablet bottle are required.


Bacterial Growth Process


Bacteria are prokaryotic organisms that reproduce primarily asexually by a process known as binary fission. One organism splits into two organisms and each one is capable of reproducing further. The principle of bioremediation is based on the tremendous growth potential of bacteria with the binary fission process. For illustration purposes, lets consider the growth potential of one single bacterial cell, assuming a 20 minute generation time, for a few hours.


Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3 Hour 4 Hour 5 Hour 6 Hour 7
1 – 2 – 4 – 8 – 16 – 32 – 64 – 128 – 256 – 512 – 1024 – 2048 – 4096 – 8192 – 16384 – 32,768 – 65,536 – 131,472 – 262,944 – 525,888 – 1,051,776


In little more than 6 hours the population has increased over 1 million fold. This tremendous growth rate is the secret to successful remediation. In the case of odor control bioremediation, the odor causing compound is used both as a carbon source and an energy source to produce the million fold increase in cell mass.

For questions about odor control in elevator shafts, contact Custom Biologicals. 

Bioremediation of Odors for Elevator Shafts.

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