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Researchers are hunting microplastic with jellyfish

In the innovative EU project GoJelly, researchers are working to solve the microplastic challenge by using products from nature itself.
GoJelly researchers will focus on identifying species that produce the most mucus, and  finding effective harvesting methods for the recovery and storage of the jellyfish. Photo: Pexels.com.
GoJelly researchers will focus on identifying species that produce the most mucus, and finding effective harvesting methods for the recovery and storage of the jellyfish. Photo: Pexels.com.

The project is led by the German Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, but the Norwegian research institute SINTEF and NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology) are involved in the hunt for jellyfish that have a talent for catching microplastics.

GoJelly’s goal is to develop a biofilter from the mucus produced by the jellyfish. The mucus can actually adsorb both micro and nanoplastics. The idea is that the biofilter could be used in municipal wastewater treatment plants to stop plastic particles from getting into the sea.

In GoJelly, researchers at NTNU and SINTEF will work together with researchers and fishermen from all over Europe to harvest jellyfish in different European marine areas. In Norway, Periphylla periphylla (helmet jellyfish), which lives in Trondheim Fjord, is the target of the harvest.

The researchers will focus on identifying species that produces the most mucus, and to find effective methods for harvesting and storaging the jellyfish. The functionality and capacity of the filter will also be investigated.

In addition, the project will examine the cultivation of jellyfish for research material and jellyfish for biofilters and other products made from jellyfish, such as human food, feed, fertilizer and cosmetics.

Published 14 May 2018
av Christina Benjaminsen for Gemini.no
Senior Research Scientist