Aster Bio

Aster Bio

Aster Bio develops microbial-based products used in a process called bioaugmentation. While Aster Bio specializes in environmental microbes, bioaugmentation also is used in making wine, beer, cheese and bread. In microbial-transformed food products, 19th century microbiologists learned that using carefully selected cultures made the resulting foods both better in quality and uniformity than relying on the wild type of microbes present.

Company details

PO Box 27841 , Houston , Texas 77227-7841 USA
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Business Type:
Industry Type:
Water Treatment
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:

Formed in 2003, we use the most advanced science, including DNA sequencing, to develop customized, Earth-friendly products to effectively solve our customers’ unique biological waste treatment challenges. Co-founders Erik Rumbaugh and Paul Campbell, Ph.D., have a combined 45 years of experience in biotechnology and biological waste treatment.

It is this same basic microbial approach that is used in creating Aster Bio’s products. Instead of relying on “wild” microbes, Aster Bio uses carefully selected and concentrated cultures to reduce variations in treatment efficiency and buffer against losses in microbial viability.

In the 1960s, along with the advent of widespread secondary biological treatment, a few pioneering companies began making environmental microbial cultures for use in waste treatment. Early cultures were often produced from isolates found in contaminated soils and waters. The microbes were grown using techniques similar to those used to manufacture fermented foods and enzymes. Over the next 50 years, bioaugmentation products, often called “bugs”, were used in many municipal and industrial waste treatment operations when the indigenous biomass failed to meet effluent treatment goals.

The resulting products are based on high-throughput genetic sequencing in a technology we call Environmental Genomics™. We use DNA analysis to determine which organisms are performing best given influent makeup and environmental conditions.

Our customers face environmental compliance challenges daily

Advanced bioaugmentation products & application technologies

Aster Bio studies wastewater and environmental samples using our Environmental Genomics™ DNA platform. In screening samples, we identify organisms associated with best wastewater operations for each application. The isolated microbes become part Aster Bio’s culture bank for use in our products. Each product relies on microbes grown using advanced aseptic fermentation to produce the highest quality bioaugmentation products, or bugs, on the market.

Programs to maximize biological unit performance

Successful biological treatment requires an environment for desirable microbial growth. Experience in both growing microbes and field experience in wastewater treatment, gives Aster Bio a unique multi-disciplinary perspective on biological waste treatment. Experience helps Aster Bio create programs that meet your waste treatment goals.

Environmental Genomics™ – advanced molecular testing designed for environmental samples

Aster Bio offers advanced molecular genetic analysis of wastewater and soil samples using our Environmental Genomics™ technology. Using a combination of technologies including full spectrum metagenomics, 16s rDNA sequencing, and qPCR, Aster Bio applies the correct test protocol to efficiently generate information needed for optimizing today’s modern treatment systems. Genetic testing represents a major advance in monitoring biological treatment systems, as it looks at the biomass directly at a DNA level instead of tracking trailing indicators such as respiration rates, ATP, plate counts, or microscopic exam.

Tox-Bac & Tox-N – rapid, easy-to-use toxicity testing kits

You want to know the impact of a new waste stream on heterotrophic or delicate ammonia oxidizing bacteria, before the waste stream reaches the biological treatment unit. Aster Bio has developed two convenient test kits, utilizing existing lab equipment, for testing potential toxicity. With rapid results delivered on-site, the kits give valuable operational information without high costs.