Posts Tagged ‘oysters’

Photo: The documentary Fat Kathy.
In Warsaw, clams are used to test for toxicity in the water supply.

I have blogged before about the role of oysters and oyster shells in cleaning up polluted water (for example, here and here), but today’s story suggests other mollusks are equally hard at work.

Judita K writes at Bored Panda, “Some manmade things are better left to nature. [That’s why parts of] the world have decided to trust clams and mussels to monitor the cleanness of their water. Despite most of us being used to seeing clams on a fancy dinner plate, some of them get a more important mission — monitoring the purity of drinking water. …

“The water quality in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, is monitored by … well, yes, clams. A Polish Tumblr user who goes by nickname Ftgurdy explained that the city of Warsaw gets its water from a river and ‘the main water pump has 8 clams that have triggers attached to their shells. If the water gets too toxic, they close, and the triggers shut off the city’s water supply automatically.’

“There’s a whole documentary on that, called Fat Kathy, and you can check out its trailer here. It follows how the main scientist-malacologist watches over the system’s operation. …

“Municipal Water and Sewage Enterprise in the Capital City of Warsaw confirms the use of fish and mussels for biomonitoring. They explain that they use biomonitoring at Warsaw Waterworks to increase the safety of the water treatment process. …

“The mollusks first undergo an acclimatization process after being caught and brought to the laboratory. It takes about two weeks. During that time, scientists also determine the natural opening of their shell — clams leave a slight opening and feed by filtrating water. Within one hour, one clam can filter and thus analyze the quality of 1.5 liters of water.

They live only in completely clean waters and shut their shells immediately if they sense any impurity.

“After completing their acclimatization process, clams are placed in a specially designed flow tank. They are connected to the system controller that sends data to a computer which records the degree that the clams’ shells are open all the time. If the water quality deteriorates, the clams close their shells to isolate themselves from the contaminated environment. That automatically triggers an alarm and shuts down water supply while scientists perform laboratory tests.

“In order for the clams not to get used to the water that’s being tested, they only serve for three months. After their service is done, they are transported back to the same water they were taken from and are marked by the scientists so they don’t pick up the same clams again.

“This Polish Waterworks company claims that this biomonitoring method is one of the most effective proven technologies for water quality testing. According to them, mussels monitor water quality for over 8 million people in Poland. Turns out, Minneapolis is using this method as well. Minneapolis Water Treatment and Distribution Services credit 12 mussels for keeping the water clean and safe.

“ ‘They are filter feeders, so they are feeding off of the water that’s in there, pulling the nutrients down,’ said George Kraynick of Minneapolis Water Works. ‘They live for up to 50 years, they are there 24/7 and they are happy in the tank, just feeding. [After they’ve served their time] most likely, we will just set them free in the river. … Minneapolis is currently the only city in the US that uses clams for biomonitoring.”

The writer also includes great comments on this technology from Twitter and elsewhere on the internet.

More at Bored Panda, here. No firewall. If you prefer your sources to be less like Tumblr and more like the Economist, click here.

Hat tip: John.

PS. You might also like to read how Dr. Thabile Ndlovu in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is building a national bank of water data to ensure the water is safe to drink: here. She and her team are particularly focused on the danger of heavy metals.

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What a good idea for economic development in Rhode Island! Rhode Island is where Johnson & Wales has been building a strong gastronomic culture for decades. And the school is not alone. You have your oysters and your Point Judith fishing industry, of course — and I’m leaving out nearly everyone.

Yesterday, my husband and I checked out the state’s first food-business incubator, Hope & Main, at a festive event in the nonprofit’s new, permanent location. The story was posted in October on their website.

“Hope & Main today celebrated the opening of its 17,500-square-foot culinary business incubator facility in Warren, Rhode Island. U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, as well as other honored guests including USDA Director of Community Programs Daniel R. Beaudette, Warren Town Council President Christopher W. Stanley, and Founder and President of Hope & Main, Lisa J. Raiola, MPH.

“ ‘Hope & Main is about helping food entrepreneurs get started in a licensed kitchen. …  It’s also a place where people can congregate and collaborate, take a class or develop and test new recipes. I am proud to be part of this effort to support start-up food entrepreneurs and help them launch their own food businesses,’ said Senator Reed. ‘This is a great example of what’s possible when federal, state, and local officials collaborate with the private sector to support innovation. …’

“Housed in the historic Main Street School building, located at 691 Main Street in Warren, the renovation project transformed the 100-year-old structure into a state-of-the-art workspace for the region’s food entrepreneurs. [The] building’s highlights include three code-compliant, shared-use commercial kitchens, including a gluten-free kitchen and artisanal bakery, over 6,000-square-feet of production space, cold and dry storage, and a range of commercial equipment to support small-scale operations for baking, food processing and catering. Designed to facilitate collaboration and community involvement in the local food economy, the rehab also features a demonstration kitchen, co-working and meeting spaces, and a 2,000-square-foot community event space. A weekly market will be located on the grounds to give Hope & Main member companies and other local producers direct access to local consumers. …

“The Hope & Main project is funded in large part by a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Community Facilities Loan.” More at MakeFoodYourBusiness.org, here.

My husband and I left with several business cards and goodies, including a a tomato jam with a great slogan: “To boldly go where no tomato has gone before.” I had a big smile on my face.















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How delightful! Suzanne told me that Georgia’s childhood friend Jules calls his Rhode Island oyster business Walrus and Carpenter.

Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” was the first poem I memorized in school. I was 11. It was a long poem but not too hard after memorizing the script of Alice in Wonderland at 10 (I was Alice’s understudy).

Here’s where oysters come in:

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

The oldest oyster is wary and has no intention of leaving his oyster bed. But a slew of young oysters jump up, ready for a pleasant walk and talk. After many verses:

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

Read the whole poem, here.

And if you are in Rhode Island, please check out Walrus and Carpenter Oysters. On their website, you will find bios about the oyster cultivators on the team and information on where to show up for their current dinner series.

Suzanne particularly recommends reading some of the links on the company’s press page, especially the one to the New Yorker article (here) about how a dismantled bamboo art installation from the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art called Big Bambú ended up making oysters happy in Rhode Island.

Photo of the original John Tenniel art: wikimedia.org

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