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Scientific Studies

Scientific studies on the use of ultrasound

Environ Technol. 2001 Apr;22(4):383-90.

Ultrasonic irradiation for blue-green algae bloom control.

Lee TJ, Nakano K, Matsumara M.
Institute of Applied Biochemistry, University of Tsukuba, Tennodai 1-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0006, Japan.

A novel application of ultrasonic irradiation for rapid control of blue-green algae (BGA) bloom was investigated. Potassium iodide (KI) experiments demonstrated that frequency and input power are the major factors that affect the ultrasonic irradiation intensity. Short exposure (3 s) to ultrasonic irradiation (120 W input power, 28 kHz) effectively settled naturally growing BGA suspension. Electron microscopy reconfirmed that sedimentation was caused by the disruption and collapse of gas vacuoles after ultrasonic exposure. Moreover, even after 5 min of exposure to ultrasonic irradiation (1200 W input power, 28 kHz) the microcystin concentration in BGA suspensions did not increase. For the same input power (120 W), a lower frequency (28 kHz) was found to be more effective in decreasing the photosynthetic activity of BGA than a higher frequency (100 kHz). The sonicated cells did not proliferate when they were cultured in conditions that simulated the bottom of water bodies (i.e. with limited light (400 lx) or no light and non-aerated or aerated (1 l min-1)). Furthermore, ultrasonic irradiation did not only collapse gas vacuoles and precipitate BGA, but may have also inflicted damage on the photosynthetic system of the BGA.


Effect of ultrasonic frequency and power on algae suspensions.

Eadaoin M. Joycea, Xiaoge Wua & Timothy J. Masona


Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic bacteria with some characteristics of algae. Some cyanobacteria produce toxins that have been shown to be hazardous to both animals and humans. Previous research has demonstrated power ultrasound can provide a suitable method to control algae blooms although the optimum ultrasonic parameter settings have not been determined to ensure an effective and energy efficient treatment. In this work the effect of ultrasound on suspensions of Microcystis aeruginosa has been investigated at the following frequencies 20, 40, 580, 864 and 1146 kHz. Results showed that the reduction in algal numbers is dependent on both frequency and intensity. In order to quantify the effect we have defined the efficiency of the ultrasonic control of algae at a specific frequency as: (% inactivation of the algae) / (ultrasonic intensity applied). When this is applied to the results at different frequencies the order of efficiency for algae reduction is 20 < 1146 < 864 < 580 kHz. This suggests that ultrasound can offer a suitable method for algae inactivation or control but the sonication conditions must be taken into account.

Ultrasonic damages on cyanobacterial photosynthesis.

  • a Shenzhen Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
  • b Department of Environmental Science Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, China
  • c Department of Environmental Engineering, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing 100083, China

Excessive cyanobacterial growth in eutrophic water sources has been a serious environmental problem, and both sight preservation and drinking water production demand control of cyanobacterial growth in water. Ultrasonic treatment was reported to effectively inhibit cyanobacterial growth through vesicle collapsing and cell fracturing, but little was known about the change of cyanobacterial photosynthesis during sonication. This paper examined the ultrasonic inhibition of Microcystis aeruginosa cell growth and extracellular microcystins release, and the instant ultrasonic decreases of antenna complexes like cyanobacterial chlorophyll a and phycocyanins (PC), and the oxygen evolution rate. The results showed that sonication effectively damaged antenna complexes, slowed down the photo-activity, which significantly inhibited the cell growth and microcystins formation and release.

More scientific studies:
Effect of ultrasound on cyprids and juvenile barnacles – Guo et al. 2011
Evaluation of US in removal of algae from Surface Waters
Links to several scientific studies composed Sept 2011