Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Inverting nutrient fluxes across the land-water interface - Exploring the potential of zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) farming

Goedkoop, Willem; Choudhury, Maidul I.; Lau, Danny C. P.; Grandin, Ulf


We studied the potential of zebra mussel farming for nutrient retention in a eutrophic lake. Duplicate experimental long-line cultivation units were deployed and mussel growth and nutrient retention were quantified after 28 months. Mussels grew well at shallow water depth (<3 m) and our 625 m(2) (lake area) experimental units produced 507 and 730 kg dry biomass, respectively, of which 94% were shells. These yields corresponded to an average retention of 92.7 +/- 23.1 kg C, 6.1 +/- 0.68 kg N, and 0.43 +/- 0.04 kg P retention, or 742 kg C, 49 kg N, and 3.5 kg P for a full-size (0.5 ha) mussel farm. We estimate that concentrating the long-lines to a depth of 2.5 m would probably have doubled these yields, based on the differences in mussel growth among depths. We further estimate that a full-size cultivation unit (0.5 ha) thus could compensate for the annual total-P run-off from 23 ha, or the biologically available P from approximately 49 ha of agricultural soils. As traditional measures have proven insufficient, decision-makers need to facilitate novel approaches to mitigate the negative effects of cultural eutrophication. We envision that zebra mussel farming, within their invaded range, provides a promising approach to invert nutrient losses in lakes and coastal lagoons.


Eutrophication; Remediation practices; Nutrient retention; Nature-based solutions; Phosphorus; Nitrogen; Economic analysis

Published in

Journal of Environmental Management
2021, Volume: 281, article number: 111889