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How Oysters May Help Reduce Nitrogen Pollution

oyster farm

Story at-a-glance -

  • Oysters have a unique microbiome growing on their shells and in the sediment around them that have the capacity to process nitrogen compounds into harmless nitrogen gas
  • Nutrient pollution from excess nitrogen and phosphorus reaches waterways through ground water runoff, industrial wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks, and has become one of the costlier environmental problems
  • Excess nitrogen is responsible for a growing number of toxic algae blooms, some of which are so large they are visible from space
  • Algae blooms severely reduce the amount of oxygen in the water, destroying the local ecosystem and producing toxins that are dangerous to fish and humans

By Dr. Mercola

A raw oyster has an unpalatable appearance and generally a high, visual "ick" factor. However, before humans began destroying the oyster's natural habitat, this little saltwater, bivalve mollusk provided a nutrient-rich source of calcium, iron, protein and zinc. Oysters have also been prized for their aphrodisiac qualities, as they increase sperm and testosterone production and play a role in the libido of both genders.


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