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Subject: Researchers discover technique to partially sterilize ballast water
Date posted: March 01, 2002
Rayl, A.J.S. Deoxygenating ballast water: A win-win solution. The Scientist, 16(3): 20, Feb. 4, 2002. This publication can be found at http://www.the-scientist.com/

Researchers have learned that a new method for preventing ship ballast corrosion may also be a cost-effective way to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. The process, which aims to prevent oxidation and rust in ship ballasts, bubbles nitrogen through the tanks to remove oxygen. Additionally, the depletion of oxygen transforms the ballast water into a toxic environment for most aquatic organisms. Though some microbial species could survive a nitrogen treatment, most animals and plants would perish after two to three days, whereas most ocean crossings by cargo ships can take weeks. Many harmful invaders, such as the European zebra mussel, veined rapa whelk, and green crab, were carried to North America via ballast water and have since caused serious environmental and economic damage.