Bursa Metropolitan Municipality and Bursa Technical University (BTU) joined forces to turn the disadvantaged situation into an advantage by using mucilage, which fishermen call sea spit, which affects the shores of the Marmara Sea, in the agricultural sector.
Bursa Metropolitan Municipality continues its struggle with the algae/plankton explosion (mucilage), which fishermen call sea spit, which started to be seen on the shores of the Marmara Sea, and which affected the coasts of Yalova, Izmit Bay, Çanakkale and Balikesir, as well as the Gemlik and Mudanya coasts of Bursa. On the one hand, the Metropolitan Municipality, which started to restore the sea to its old appearance by collecting the solidified mucilage with cleaning tools, on the other hand, started the works to bring the collected mucilage to the economy with the call from BTU. BTU Rector Prof. Dr. The information meeting hosted by Arif Karademir was attended by Metropolitan Municipality Secretary General Ulaş Akhan, BTU Vice Rector Prof. Dr. Beyhan Bayhan, Deputy Secretary General of Metropolitan Municipality Ahmet Aka, Head of Environmental Protection and Control Department Yıldız Odaman Cindoruk, Head of Parks and Gardens Department Muhammet Ali Akaç, Head of Bioengineering Department Prof. Dr. Mete Yılmaz from the Department of Forestry Engineering and Landscape Architecture, Dr. Professor Kamil Erken from the Department of Forestry Engineering Assoc. Dr. Salih Parlak from the Department of Environmental Engineering, Prof. Dr. Mehmet İşenler attended.
“It can turn into fertilizer”
BTU Rector Prof. Dr. Arif Karademir said that the municipalities are ready to serve in order to be beneficial to the society in every field of activity. He stated that mucilage, which has been talked about recently, is a natural disaster, and that besides eliminating its causes, it is necessary to intervene in the current situation. Rector Karademir explained that mucilage is used as a raw material in agriculture, animal feed and obtaining some chemicals in the world. Dr. Mete Yılmaz has also started important studies on this subject. We want to bring the mucilage obtained from the cleaning work carried out by the Metropolitan Municipality to the economy. While mucilage appears to be an important problem, it can turn into a fertilizer that gives fruitfulness to the farmer's crops. As BTU, we are always ready to support the areas where the Metropolitan Municipality has worked and to make green Bursa more livable.”
Metropolitan Municipality Secretary General Ulaş Akhan said that they are in close cooperation with BTU in research and development projects within the framework of scientific and technical needs. Stating that the sea saliva formed in the Sea of Marmara affects the entire region, Akhan said that the Ministry, municipalities and academic environment have had good work on the measures to be taken and the steps to be taken to prevent it from happening again. Explaining that they exchanged views with BTU in order to talk about what to do on behalf of Bursa and the region, Akhan said, “There are environmental studies carried out in many areas between the Metropolitan Municipality and BTU. Many projects have been prepared. We will have good announcements in the coming days. BTU Rector Prof. Dr. I would like to thank Arif Karademir and our teachers. Hopefully, we will show a will to solve the problems caused by this and similar natural events.”
“We can gain in agriculture and other fields”
Head of BTU Bioengineering Department Prof. Dr. Mete Yılmaz stated that the mucilage structure formed by microorganisms is a substance that has been studied in the laboratory for many years and how to use it. Explaining that these are very valuable substances, Prof. Dr. Yılmaz said, “You can obtain various pharmaceutical additives from these. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties. They improve the properties of the soil. It increases the productivity in agriculture. On the other hand, the substance that we have been trying to produce in the laboratory for years naturally reproduces in tons in Marmara. This could be an environmental disaster. It harms aquatic life. But if we collect it somehow and decompose the valuable substance in it, we can bring it into biotechnology, agriculture and other fields. When he first came to the shores of Mudanya, we collected our samples. In the laboratory, students began their characterization. They separated the valuable polysaccharide substance secreted by the cells inside it from other substances. It was investigated which structures these were formed and in which areas they could be evaluated. First of all, we wanted to evaluate it in the field of agriculture. Will it improve soil properties? Will it increase agricultural production? Can we use them as fertilizer? Can we use them as preventive agents against agricultural damage? We started the research,” he said.
“We can turn it into a useful product”
Stating that they have already included students in the project in order to participate in TEKNOFEST competitions, Yılmaz said that they will present the product obtained from sea saliva next year. Stating that they can dry some of the product collected by the Metropolitan Municipality and use it in their experiments, Yılmaz stated that they can cooperate with Tarım AŞ for the trial area to improve the properties of the soil. Yılmaz said, “We can turn it into a useful product instead of leaving it to rot somewhere after being collected at sea. Because it's expensive. I know because we tried to manufacture the product in the laboratory. Such structures formed by microorganisms are widely used in food, as seen in many cooking competitions. It started to become popular. Such polysaccharide structures are frequently used in the food, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries. We may have a chance to turn this into a product somehow. Presumably, we are the only ones in Turkey with this approach. Yes, it is an environmental problem and we have experts on this subject. We will also be working on the 'why', but we can also turn it into a useful product.”