Mussels belong to the Phylum Mollusca and Class Bivavia. Many properties of mussels are known. Now, it has acquired another importance for its role as bio-monitor,i.e. it can judge the water quality.Judging the water quality through living organisms(bio-monitors) have significance to the ecologists as well as to the agencies which are invoved with water quality control.
Mussels, the bivalve molluscs are very interesting. They remove the suspended soil particles, algal blooms and metal ions like Cu, Zn, and Ni through their gills. Their mantle, kidney, foot ,and hepatopancreas are also anticipated sites of metal uptake.
The mussel can accumulate both essential and non-essential metals in high concentration along with contaminants like hydrophobic organic contaminants, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, metallothionein, and organochlorines.
The accumulation of contaminants/ pollutants from the water is referred as bioconcentration which indicate the cumulative build up of nondegradable substances. The ability to absorb contamintants/pollutants/toxins makes mussel a potentially useful animal for monitoring water quality.
In the United States, Dreissena polymorpha is used to reduce suspected matter loads, toxins ,and organic pollutants. Mytilus edulis, another mussel has been traditionally used in the marine sector for monitoring work. The mussel, Elliptio complanata actively filter, concentrates, and retains faecal coliform bacteria.
Use of mussel in water monitoring practice has been discussed in a July-Sepember 2008 issue of Aquaculture Asia Magazine