Scientists "listen" to plants to find water pollution
2008-08-16 0:00

From: reuters.com


Scientists in Israel have discovered a new way to test for water pollution by "listening" to what the plants growing in water have to say.

By shining a laser beam on the tiny pieces of algae floating in the water, the researchers said they hear sound waves that tell them the type and amount of contamination in the water.

"It is a red light, telling us that something is beginning to go wrong with the quality of water," said Zvy Dubinsky, an aquatic biologist at Israel's Bar Ilan University. "Algae is the first thing to be affected by a change in water quality."

Although most of the earth is covered in water, 44 percent of the world's population live in areas with high water stress, and the number is likely to increase because of factors such as global warming and rising population.

As water sources deteriorate worldwide, the testing of algae could be used to monitor water quality faster, more cheaply and more accurately than techniques now in use, Dubinsky said.

The secret, he said, is to measure the rate of photosynthesis in the algae, meaning the plant's ability to transform light into energy. During photosynthesis, plants also release oxygen into the air.

Dubinsky's technique is easy to perform because of the over-abundance of algae in the planet's water. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from algae.

A prototype tester, that occupies about one square meter of a laboratory desktop, shoots a laser beam at water samples to stimulate photosynthesis in the algae. But not all of the laser's heat is used.

Depending on the condition of the algae and the rate of photosynthesis, some of the heat is shot back into the water, creating sound waves, Dubinsky said.

With a special underwater microphone, researchers are able to analyze the strength of the sound waves and determine the health of the algae and the condition of the surrounding water.

"Algae suffering from lead poisoning, like waste discharged from battery and paint manufacturing plants, will produce a different sound than those suffering from lack of iron or exposure to other toxins," said researcher Yulia Pinchasov.

She said that testing algae photosynthesis can determine water quality more accurately and easily than labor-intensive methods now used like chemical and radioactive carbon testing.

With proper funding, Dubinsky said a commercial product could be ready in about two years.

The team has published its research in numerous scientific journals, most recently in the journal Hydrobiologia.

Article from: http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/
idUSLD33620320080814?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0



Related Articles
Cleve Backster - Primary Perception And The Consciousness Of Plants
Plants 'thrive' on Moon rock diet
Red Ice Creations Radio - Jim Sanders - Ayahuasca, Plants, Nature & Shaman Juan Flores (Subscription)
Do Not Offend Water - It Remembers Every Word You Say


Latest News from our Front Page

West’s tributes to late Saudi King reveal hypocrisy not democracy
2015-01-27 2:16
Hypocrisy is not usually regarded as a virtue of leadership, yet judging by the gushing tributes paid to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah by various Western governments and establishment figures on his death, there are those who believe it should be. In the UK this hypocrisy has been stretched to breaking point with the decision to fly the flags over Downing ...
Millions of GMO insects could be set loose in Florida Keys
2015-01-27 2:34
Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood. "This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease," said Michael Doyle, executive ...
Furguson Scared The Super - Rich So Bad They're Planning Exits
2015-01-27 0:22
According to a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ferguson and Occupy absolutely terrified the world’s super-rich, and now they’re buying airstrips and farms in remote locations to escape to. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which was held between January 21-24, over 2,500 leaders in the fields of business, international politics, academia and journalism met to discuss ...
The Ring Of The Nibelungs
2015-01-27 0:20
Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King (also known as Ring of the Nibelungs, Die Nibelungen, Curse of the Ring, and Sword of Xanten) is a 2004 German television film directed by Uli Edel and starring Benno Fürmann, Alicia Witt, Kristanna Loken, and Max von Sydow. The film is based on the Norse mythology story Völsungasaga and the German epic poem Nibelungenlied, ...
Google Street View Shows NAACP Bombing a Hoax
2015-01-26 22:58
Caught in the act: NAACP passing off old soot marks as new in ‘bomb’ hoax NAACP Colorado Chapter President Henry D. Allen Jr. has been caught in the act of passing off old soot marks as new damage from the recent ‘explosion’ at the Colorado Springs chapter headquarters. Although Gotnews.com has previously remarked on the minimal damage as reported by the ...
More News »