Ryan, Matthews F. 1998. Low-Frequency Electromagnetism: An Effective Nonchemical Method for Control of Zebra Mussel Infestation. Purdue University-Calumet

Abstracts from the Eighth International Zebra Mussel and Other Nuisance Species Conference, Sacramento California March 16-19, 1998


The application of extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields as an effective method for the control of (Dreissena polymorpha) infestation is described. Work focused on monitoring the survival of zebra mussels in which the water was irradiated by an ELF field. The efflux of Ca2+, Mg2+ and other cations from zebra mussels exposed to ELF electromagnetism were used to gauge the efficacy of the method. Experiments examined the application of ELF electromagnetic fields under different environmental conditions: closed and flow-through systems. For a static system, mortality of zebra mussels exposed to ELF EM irradiated water occurred as soon as 5 days. A four-fold increase in the dissolved calcium concentration in the bath water was observed. The rate of change in the calcium concentration points toward a process which affects the mussels’ ability to assimilate calcium from water and also removes calcium from the shells and bodies of the zebra mussels. ELF EM is thought to increase the solubility of calcium carbonate by enhancing the ion-dipole bonding probability of water with dissolved salts. A qualitative model is presented to interpret experimental findings.

Download the extended report: Low_Frequency_Electromagnetism_Zebra_Mussels.pdf (3.5MB)

Contact: Dr. Matthew F. Ryan, Purdue University-Calumet, Department of Chemistry and Physics, Hammond, IN 46323


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