Mozart Makes Microbes Eat Sewage Faster


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It looks like Mozart has billions and billions more fans than we thought -- and much smaller ones, too. Evidently, sewage-eating microbes are major appreciators of the Austrian composer. One pioneering waste treatment plant in Germany has taken to playing Mozart on an expensive stereo to the microorganisms that break down sewage -- and it found that it greatly increased their speed and efficiency, and could save the plant thousands of dollars a year. Yes, playing Mozart to microbes could save energy and drastically cut operating costs. Here's how it works, according to Der Spiegel International:

The sonic waves of Mozart's compositions, along with the addition of oxygen, spur micro-organisms to a higher performance in breaking down biosolids, [operations manager] Anton Stucki explained. As a result, wastewater facilities will be able to save energy costs and decrease the amount of residual sludge, which is expensive to dispose of.
And saved energy means saved money: in this case, the plant expects to save 1,000 euros a month by piping in music. The plant managers have spared no expense, either: They're using top-of-the-line stereo systems that are intended to replicate the concert hall sound as accurately as possible. I guess sewage-eating microbes are also music snobs.

Running the stereo costs 400 ($485) a month -- but it's proven to be so effective at boosting the speed of the sewage-eating microbes that they're saving more than twice that. The conclusive results of the experiment are still pending, but it's increasingly looking like Mozart could become a mainstay at sewage treatment centers. Not exactly the audience the late composer likely expected his music would find . . .

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