Filtration effects of zebra mussels on pathogens and total bacterial burden in the Odra Lagoon (South Baltic)

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As a result of their mode of filter feeding, zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha Pall.) have been observed to purify natural water bodies and in vitro. Therefore, the possibility of using zebra mussels for water purification was investigated in a slightly brackish water body of a large lagoon. In this study, water samples were taken above, near and at distance from zebra mussel beds (MB) in the Odra Lagoon in North East Germany. Near typical bacterial species like Aeromonas spp. pathogenic bacteria with potential relation to hospital wastewater pollution (Burkholderia cepacia, Staphylococcus aureus, Weeksella spp.) were detected. There were no correlations found between either total bacteria or pathogens and distance to MB and no antimicrobial effect of the mussels could be deduced. For bioremediation in larger water bodies like lagoons, natural zebra MB do not seem to play a major antimicrobial role and the effect of artificial mussel grids especially against hospital pathogens should be investigated.

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