June 21, 2016


Salmon DNA called 'magical' Credit: Ki Tae Nam

Salmon DNA called ‘magical’
Credit: Ki Tae Nam

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch. Salmon sperm attracts rare earth elements. I’ll tell you more after this –

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Salmon sperm, or milt, is being called a miracle product by Japanese researchers for its ability to extract rare earth elements from various wastes. It turns out that salmon sperm has phosphate in its DNA. studies showed that phosphate on the surface of some bacteria extracted rare earth elements (REEs), and did it 10 times better than conventional methods.

To test the idea, the researchers poured dried salmon milt into a beaker containing liquid ore waste. The semen did indeed absorb several rare elements which were easily extracted using a centrifuge.

 Scientists claim salmon milt could someday replace the hazardous chemicals that are currently used to extract rare earth elements. And take note Alaska: the Japanese researchers said that before salmon milt can replace industrial pollutants, cooperation from commercial fisheries will be required… and infrastructure will have to be set up for capturing and processing it at its source.

It’s not the first time salmon DNA has been called a miracle. We’ve reported before that salmon sperm is the first biological material ever used in LED lighting, used everywhere.

Photonics expert Dr. Andrew Steckl at the University of Cincinnati says the bio-magic stems from the unique shape of salmon DNA. He adds that the semi-conductor and flat panel display industries fear that the rare specialty metals they need to make their devices will soon run out. Steckl believes plentiful biomaterials will help save the day.

 It is a powerful argument that we have one of the biggest and most competitive industries in America in agriculture and fishing and it produces a huge amount of biomaterials which can be used in many different ways.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910.   On the web at www.oceanbeauty.com .. In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.