Work underway to bring sea snot into economy

Mucilage in Sea of Marmara caused by increase in temperature, stillness at sea, pollution.

Work underway to bring sea snot into economy

Fieldwork has started to bring marine mucilage in the Sea of Marmara into the economy.

Samples were taken by Bursa Metropolitan Municipality and Bursa Technical University (BTU) in order to use marine mucilage or sea snot, which spreads in large areas in the Sea of Marmara, in different fields, especially agriculture.

Mucilage, also known as sea snot, is the overgrowth of microscopic algae called phytoplankton. The thick, mucus-like slimy layer contains a variety of microorganisms and is caused by an increase in seawater temperature due to global warming, stillness at sea, and pollution.

According to a statement by the municipality, a commission was established under Bursa Metropolitan Municipality Environmental Protection and Control Department to identify the factors causing the formation of mucilage, to find solutions, and prepare a "Bursa Marine Pollution Prevention Action Plan”.

Mucilage collected from the sea will be converted into fertilizers or different products and brought into the national economy.

Such substances increase productivity in soil

Mete Yilmaz, project leader and head of Bioengineering Department at Bursa Technical University, sailed to the Marmara Sea from Mudanya district of Bursa province with the municipality’s sea cleaning vehicles and collected samples for studies going on in the laboratory for a while.

In a statement, Yilmaz said they were examining the changes in water quality by comparing the samples taken after the mucilage started to appear and the samples after the cleaning work by the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality.

Stating that they would process the mucilage collected through various purification stages at the laboratory and remove salt and other substances, Yilmaz said: “We only obtain the polysaccharide substance formed by these micro-organisms. We've done these on a laboratory scale. Now we're running toxicological tests for it. We want to use it primarily in agriculture after passing various reliability tests. Because we know that such substances have the properties to increase productivity in agriculture and soil.”

He added: “Such substances have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. We want to examine whether we can use them as biopesticides, that is, as a product against existing pests in agriculture.”

Yildiz Odaman Cindoruk, head of the Environmental Protection and Control Department of Bursa Metropolitan Municipality, emphasized that the municipality has made very important investments, from advanced biological treatment plants to sea and beach cleaning, in order to prevent pollution in the Sea.

Cindoruk said their aim is to prevent the formation of mucilage and to evaluate it after it is formed.


Hüseyin Demir