University of Toledo obtains new technology to dissect toxins from algae blooms
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Digging further to determine exactly what’s going on inside the harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie is the latest project from researchers at the University of Toledo. Getting a better idea of the biology inside should ultimately help ensure that we have clean drinking water every summer.
The 2014 algae bloom may have caused more water problems than experts imagined that summer.
“So far we’ve kind of hit the flowers with a hammer, now we’re trying to get to the point where we can use a scalpel to really cut those flowers,” said Dr Tom Bridgeman of the University of Toledo. .
Dr. Bridgeman and his UT team have just received over $ 1 million from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Part of the research will study viruses attacking cyanobacteria cells, causing them to burst and release toxins, which happened in 2014.
“It doesn’t happen every year, but when it does, it’s something you really need to know,” said Bridgeman.
When this is the case, water treatment plant managers can adjust chemical treatments. The second phase will study the use of natural bacteria to attack blooms in indoor reservoirs.
“They can be used, they can be designed to detect cyanobacteria and to treat cyanotoxin in water,” said Dr. Young Seo of the University of Toledo.
This part of the UT team will dig deeper into bloom at the molecular level as there is much more than green paste that we are seeing.
“Harmful algae blooms are not the result of cyanobacteria only, but it is an active condition and a collaboration of other neighboring bacteria,” Dr Dae-Wook Kang, University of Toledo.
It will take a few more years for this technology to be operational. UT is currently using its buoys to provide the wastewater treatment plant with early data on bloom.
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