New York State Museum scientist, Dr. Daniel Molloy, has identified and patented use of a natural bacterium to control invasive Quagga and Zebra mussels. Marrone Organic Innovations, Inc. (MOI) of Davis, Calif. has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to commercialize the technology. No sweat on the collateral damage issue either. To find an environmentally safe control method,
Molloy’s lab screened over 700 bacteria before identifying a strain of the common bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, as being lethal to these mussels when ingested.
Museum scientists also discovered that dead cells of this strain were equally as lethal as live cells, providing clear evidence that the mussels died from a natural toxin in the cells, not from infection. This is very significant because it means that future commercial formulations may contain dead cells, thus further reducing environmental concerns. Testing at the lab also revealed the extraordinary selectivity of the bacteria in killing zebra and quagga mussels without killing other aquatic organisms, including fish and other species of freshwater clams and mussels.Because the work is patented and because there are huge savings to be made in maintenance and operation of water intakes of all types (nuclear & coal plants; drinking water, etc) the economic impact of this could be significant. Wonder if they have thought yet about adding some to ship ballast water?