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American Chemical Society’s Weekly PressPac -- May 7, 2008

Lei Wang, Ph.D.
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
La Jolla, California 92037
Phone: 858-453-4100, ext. 1974
Fax: 858-597-0855


Microwave zapping kills invasive species before the invasion
Environmental Science & Technology

Scientists in Louisiana are reporting development and successful testing of a new cost-effective system to kill unwanted plants and animals that hitch a ride to the United States in the ballast water of merchant ships. These so-called invasive species, such as the notorious zebra mussel, devastate native organisms and infrastructure and cost taxpayers billions of dollars annually. The study is scheduled for the June 1 issue of ACS Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

In the study, Dorin Boldor and colleagues point out that invasive species often travel in ballast tanks of international cargo ships. Ships pump sea water into these tanks for stability when a vessel leaves port with little or no cargo. They dump the water at their destination along with zebra mussels, Asian clams and other organisms that may pose environmental risks.

The new study describes development and laboratory-scale tests of a continuous microwave system which, much like a kitchen microwave oven, used heat to inactivate zooplankton, algae, and oyster larvae in salt water. Researchers found that a 30-second zap, followed by a 200-second holding period, removed all marine life. Boldor noted that the high heating rates, low operating costs, and effectiveness in hazy water distinguish it from conventional heating methods. JS

ARTICLE #3 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Design and Implementation of a Continuous Microwave Heating System for Ballast Water Treatment


Contact: Michael Woods
American Chemical Society

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