U.S. Water News Online
NANCY, France -- Bioelectricity, a phenomenon that
certain species of fish to generate electric current, is the basis
of a new water pollution detection system being developed in France.
Le Centre International de I'Eau de Nancy, known as NANCIE, an
international water study center based in Nancy, has achieved
some noteworthy results in detecting the presence of pollution
by monitoring these so-called "electric fish."
NANCIE's biodetector is apteronotus albifrons, an
tropical fish which monitors its environment by emitting a continuous
series of low-amplitude electric pulses. According to Martine
Grossein of NANCIE, water samples are heated to a stable temperature
of 77 degrees to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, the optimum level for
the fish, then distributed to test tanks containing one fish each.
Pairs of electrodes are used to collect electric data from the
fish. The data are analyzed in real time according to the frequency
and form of the electric signal, said Grossein. These electric
signals vary significantly when toxic substances are present in
The electric fish testing system ensures fast detection times,
said Grossein, and the fish adapt easily to test conditions.
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