31 Mar 2014

Artificial mussels

Gary Chan writes:*

“Artificial mussels” developed from a Hong Kong scientist, Professor Wu, Shiu Sun. Artificial mussels are use for stably detecting content of heavy metals (copper, lead, mercury, zinc, chromium, cadmium) in any kind of waters. It is less affected by the depth of waters and it is cheap. Every artificial mussel only costs five Hong Kong dollars, which is less than one US dollar.

In order to detect heavy metals, what you have to do is tie five artificial mussels together as a group and place in the targeted waters, then you can know what heavy metals are in that area in around one month. Every mussel contains some chemicals that can absorb the heavy metals from the waters. Wu said to make one artificial mussel, it only takes him five minutes. Many scientists from Thailand, Philippine, Ghana, Tanzania, etc. had come to Hong Kong to study how to make and use the artificial mussels from Professor Wu. The scientists hope that they can bring this technology back to their countries for practical application.

Bottom Line: I think this is a wonderful invention especially for developing countries, because it is low cost and can detect many metals. And I am so proud of him, because he is come from the city where I live in. And he motivated a lot young inventors in Hong Kong based on his successes.

* These guest posts are from students in my resource economics class at Simon Fraser University. Please leave feedback on their logic, ideas and style and suggestions of how to improve.


  1. This is a very interesting story, with the low cost mussels, scientists can now be more precise with the origin of pollution and can be more effective when controlling the spread of further pollution. I would definitely read more about this new invention.

  2. Hi Brian,
    A normal heavy metals detector cost more than hundred dollars, but this is way more cheaper. This developed helps a lot of developing counties to solve the water pollution problems with lower cost, and fisheries can easily to learn and use.

  3. And thank you for your comments.

  4. Very interesting! I will be watching for this type of technology to apply in my research!

  5. Thanks for your information. What I want to know is that could I know, where can I get/buy this kind of Artificial Mussels? because I have a plan to do a research concerning with the heavy metal concentration determination.


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