21 March 2011

The five-week algal bloom in Lake Bolac (Victoria, Oz) has dissipated, much to the relief of the local festival planners.  For Lake Winnipeg (Canada), algal blooms are predicted in the coming summer following floods during the wet season. Lake Eildon (Australia) is experiencing its second algal bloom of the current season.

The battles about whether to protect water resources by controlling fertilizer use continue to develop.  Farmers in the US are suing the EPA (here), fertilizer companies and nurseries are trying to get fertilizer restrictions lifted (here) while, at the same time, limits to global phosphorus availability are being debated.   By contrast, Coliban Water (Australia) has declared that they are unable to control the blue-green algae in the water supply (!) and that conditions will only improve when the bloom in the dam dissipates.

As the St Mary’s (US) algal bloom grows, efforts to include a methane digestor to reduce nutrient loading and beneficiate the waste are being considered.

On the scientific front, researchers have discovered yet another function for the liver toxin microcystin, this being protection against oxidative stress (microcystins are complex molecules that are not created for killing cattle and sheep!).  They are involved in a number of metabolic pathways, including nitrogen metabolism and chlorophyll regulation.

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