CPH Post

News

Mussels could help clean up fjords

Bivalves eat algae that block the sun and foul water


Mussels could help clean nitrogen-fouled waters (Photo: Colourbox)

April 10, 2014
14:36

by Ray Weaver


The same mussels as might be served on a plate in white wine could also help clean excess nitrogen and algae from fjords, thereby preventing oxygen deficiency – hypoxia.

Researchers studied 1,100 tonnes of mussels from an 18 hectare area of Skive Fjord. They found that the tasty creatures reduce oxygen deficiency because they eat algae that is there in part because of nitrogen emissions from agriculture.

"It surprised me that the mussels were so effective at removing nitrogen in Skive Fjord,” said Jens Kjerulf Petersen, a professor at the Danish Shellfish Centre at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) to the scientific newspaper Videnskab. "If we can subsequently sell the mussels, that would lower the price of the solution significantly.”

The project was designed to measure the effectiveness of mussels at removing pollutants. Researchers were surprised at how well they did.

Karen Timmermann, a senior fellow at the Institute of Bioscience at Aarhus University described the experiment.

"In Skive Fjord we had 18 hectares of mussel farm that cleaned out and improved the clarity of the water in an area ten times as large,” she told Videnskab.

The circle of nitrogen
Researchers behind the project believe that farmers can benefit from the mussels.

“These ‘environmental mussels’, as we call them, contain a number of valuable proteins suitable for livestock so we would not need to import as much soy or protein from other sources,” said Kjerulf.

Harvesting the mussels and reusing them as fertiliser removes nitrogen from the water and puts it back in the land where it is needed.

“It closes a portion of the nitrogen cycle,” said Timmermann.

READ MORE: Danes see great potential in ocean farming

The mussels are not a standalone solution, but researchers agree that the mussels can be of help in getting rid of the dangerous amounts of nitrogen in coastal waters.

“Nitrogen from manure ends up in the sea, groundwater and streams from decades of overuse of fertilisers in Danish agriculture, the mussels could help remove it,” said Kjerulf.



Related stories



Latest Comments

Great for her..what a fighter..

(Martin Friis on September 23, 2014 07:17)

"And I became determined to return to Denmark and release my New Yorker...

(Jens Rost on September 23, 2014 01:27)

As World Conference on Indigenous Peoples begins in UN please see "Unleashing...

(Martin Edwin Andersen on September 22, 2014 14:27)

Thoughtful piece

(David Williams on September 21, 2014 22:59)

You know we came through the sea and desert .is this because we like to put...

(Meron Mehari on September 21, 2014 18:06)

Beyond temperature, Denmark's soil and flat topography also do not favor...

(Bill Jones on September 21, 2014 16:03)

Turning Denmark into a shit hole, 600 refugees at a time. Nice going.

(Alex DeGre?t on September 21, 2014 14:11)

Are you a Christian? have you ever read your own Bible? "Paulus, Paulus,...

(Abdul Karim Munir Aszari on September 21, 2014 10:58)

And all accidences I said it might hapen there have been happened since I...

(Sly A-k on September 19, 2014 18:07)

Close the f-ing doors already. Denmark doesn't need anymore welfare sucking...

(Alex DeGre?t on September 18, 2014 16:19)