Zebra Mussels, the same unwelcome mollusks that caused Lake Zorinsky to be closed and drained last year, are now showing up in a state famous for lakes -- Minnesota. State natural resources officials report finding zebra mussels in 60 lakes and rivers, including Lake Minnetonka.
The invasive species can cause problems for swimmers because of their sharp edges. They can also clog boat intakes and once in a river, they are nearly impossible to get rid of unless drastic measures are taken.
However, drastic measures such as draining the lake may not be necessary at Lake Minnetonka. Natural resources officials have discovered that plants in the lake have natural byproducts (pseudomonas fluorescens) that kill the zebra mussels when they are eaten.
This has led to the discovery of natural bacteria that kill zebra mussels. When a specific strain of the bacteria is increased and added to the water, it can be lethal to zebra mussels and nothing else. The strain disrupts the zebra mussels’ digestive system. More research will be needed before it is applied to lakes outside of control zones.