Commercialization of an Innovative Green Technology for Controlling Zebra Mussels

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DHS Acharya, Kumud 07/01/2010 - 06/30/2011 Marrone Bio Innovations

Project Description

Scope of Work This proposed scope of work is considered a subaward under Marrone Bio Innovation's NSF/SBIR/STTR Phase II grant # 0750549 - Commercialization of an Innovative Green Technology for Controlling Zebra Mussels. 1. Product Optimization Product size: This will be done by running experiments with three types of algae varying in size and shape (e.g., smaller nanochloris, scenedesmus and one larger diatom) which we know they positively feed on them. Preliminary experiments show they prefer smaller algae. This will be verified further with additional experiments. Once we are convinced on the size and shape preference, a recommendation will be provided for altering the product formation based on size and shape of their preference. New sets of experiments will be repeated with the altered product. Product flavor: Unconfirmed reports (pers. comm. with other scientists) suggest that algae flavored spheres are available in the market. If available we will test run a few experiments to see if mussels preferentially feed on algae flavored spheres over unflavored spheres. If this is confirmed, it might be possible to coat/mix the product with algae flavor to maximize feeding. 2. Product feeding competition Food selection: The best way to tackle this question seems multiple feeding trials with the product, algae, seston and other materials (clay, sand etc) in combination and independently. End points will be physiological response including mortality as well as amount of food eaten vs. left behind after feeding trials or gut content analysis. This will involve several trials and repetitions. If mussels are found to be selectively ignoring the product, additional experiments will be run upon discussion with MBI and DRI. 3. Impact of product on varying life stages (mussels, veligers, pedi-veligers, juveniles, adults) This task will depend on answers to questions 1 and 2, however there are limitations of keeping the different life forms in the lab. Additional experiments can be run with newly collected mussels of varying life stages from the field and running short term experiments. 4. Batch vs. flow through system It will not be necessary to run all the trials in flow through systems because the refiltration problem can be handled by providing either enough media for them to filter or by adjusting mussel to volume ratio. Additionally, many of the obstacles associated with non-flow through systems (refiltration, changes in DO, pH etc.) are dependent on the length of the trial. Capturing feeding and selection is often done in a small time frame, which reduces these issues. Therefore, we can start a flow through system in the lab while we are working on these assays and when we have achieved our goals of product optimization and selection in batch systems, we can run pilot tests using flow through systems to make sure they work well in both systems.