Bio-Tech Offers Hope Against Invasive Mussels

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of a naturally-occurring soil microbe to fight invasive mussels in open-water environments.

Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. (MBI) recently announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the molluscicide Zequanox for open-water use to combat all the life stages of invasive zebra and quagga mussels.

In 2012 the product, derived from the dead cells of a natural soil microbe, was approved for use in clearing mussels from pipelines and other enclosed systems and infrastructures for energy producers, manufacturers and golf courses. But now that further research has shown it is harmless to humans, pets and the environment, including native mussels and other aquatic life, it has been cleared for use in lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

Developed by Dr. Dan Molloy at the New York State Museum, the material was released to MBI for commercial production and marketing under its brand name. "We are extremely pleased that Zequanox is now available to lake managers and consumers,” says MBI Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. “We have seen great success in enclosed systems, and now waterfront property owners and natural resources agencies have an invasive mussel control option that is more environmentally friendly than other solutions. The product can be administered without harming people, pets or the environment."

While two separate university studies, one confined to treatment sites in an Illinois lake and another done in a laboratory in Missouri, showed the product to be effective against invasive mussels and safe for non-target species, including humans, the question remains whether it will be physically or financially feasible to eliminate widespread populations of the pests.

Still, Zequanox represents a giant leap forward in the battle against these invasive mollusks.

This video clip, from the Silent Invaders television show, was taken at the New York Museum research facility during the time the molluscicide was being developed.

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