Toxin-eating bacteria naturally thrive near harmful algal blooms
Xiaozhen Mou, Kent State University
Kent State University researchers are studying whether bacteria found in Lake Erie waters and sediments could be used to remove harmful algal toxins from drinking water.
Because of its unusual shape, the chemical microcystin does not break down easily in the conditions found in most water treatment plants. However, bacteria naturally present in lake water and sediments have evolved to use microcystin and related chemicals as a food source—a fact that water treatment plants would like to take advantage of.
Kent State University microbiologist Xiaozhen Mou and her team have been collecting water and sediment samples since 2013 to find bacteria that thrive when exposed to microcystin. Now, they are purifying cultures of the bacteria to see if they can be used as part of bioremediation systems in water treatment plants.
The End Result
A better understanding of lake ecology and a hope for a new clean drinking water technology.