Algae “Equally green waters not equally productive” Presented by Bo Trull, BGP Engineering Firm
Introduction Algae, the problem which is polluting our Lake Champlain Keeping a balanced ecosystem is vital, we must keep our nutrient cycle as undisturbed as possible while cleaning or restoring our waters. Continue to improve our efforts for a clean environment.
Cause of Excess Phosphorus: Algal bloom-An algal bloom or marine bloom or water bloom is a rapid increase in the population of algae in an aquatic system. Algal blooms may occur in freshwater as well as marine environments. Lack of oxygen in water Reduced iron in water Excessive nutrients cause eutrophication, reduced water quality and alters food webs
A digital image showing how the input of iron into marine ecosystems can affect phytoplankton growth in the oceans. (Credit: Image courtesy of Oregon State University)
Mining of certain deposits of calcium phosphate called apatite
Animal wastes or manure lost as run-off during the spring thaw
Large feed lots of animals, may result in excessive run-off of phosphate and nitrate into streams
Out flows from municipal sewage treatment plants
Not all phosphorus is bad, it is an essential element for all living cells, it is also necessary for the growth of plants.
In Lake Champlain caution is taken due to the blue-green algae can sometimes produce neurotoxins that can be dangerous if ingested in large enough quantities.
Eating certain fish, including lake trout and walleye are cautioned because of mercury, PCBs and other toxins. These can bioaccumulate in fish and animals over time. High concentrations of these contaminants can cause birth defects, cancer or other illnesses.
Closed Public beaches due to waterborne pathogens, which are disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites, and due to the foul smell the algae can cause.
Scientist from the John Innes Centre and the University of Oxford discovered that a master regulatory gene called RSL4 controls the specialized nutrient mining machine that develops on the surface of plant roots. It acts like a switch; hair cells grow when the gene is turned on and growth stops when it is off. Root hairs develop on roots and burrow into the soil releasing acids and other scouring chemicals that crack open rocky minerals releasing valuable nutrients such as iron and phosphate that are necessary for plant growth. When plants grow in conditions where there is insufficient phosphate they develop very long root hairs. This increases the amount of soil from which they can scavenge phosphate. This could have the added benefit of decreasing the amount of polluting phosphate that runs off into rivers and lakes by plants not requiring added fertilizers in poor soil conditions. Website: http://www.jic.bbsrc.ac.uk
Large corporations such as Exxon Mobil are researching biofuels from photosynthetic algae as the next generation for renewable fuels. Photosynthetic algae may become an economically viable, low emissions transportation fuel.Growing algae consume carbon dioxide which provides greenhouse gas mitigation benefits.Algae have the potential to yield greater volumes of biofuel per acre of production than other biofuel sources.