Protect Public Health

Safe Water, Safe Fish, Safe Food

Girl drinking clean water from outdoor tapWhen changes in water quality arise, it makes sense to ask, "Is it safe to drink? Swim? Fish? Water my plants?" But since harmful algal blooms (HABs) are so complex and come in so many forms, there have not always been clear and easy answers about the potential effects—positive, negative or neutral—of algal products on humans, food crops, animals, and ecosystems. Ohio State and partners have identified key areas where a little more research would go a long way to helping public health officials make the call on safety when it comes to algal blooms.

Our goals

  • Give communities the information they need to manage water systems intelligently for ongoing use, crisis prevention and long-term planning
  • Determine the safety of water sources effectively and efficiently
  • Offer more timely and accurate methods to detect algal toxins in water, fish and plant tissue
  • Develop and refine techniques to neutralize or remove contaminants of concern from water

Projects

Field to Faucet Funded Projects

New field sensors will quickly scan for multiple algal toxins in water, food
A new sensor under development at The Ohio State University will detect harmful substances in water or food much more quickly than current methods. Lead: Wu Lu, Ohio State University. Read more...

Ohio Department of Higher Education Funded Projects

Guidance for Regulators On Fish And Produce During Algal Bloom Season
A team of Ohio State researchers is helping to determine whether certain foods like fish and irrigated produce are safe to eat during Lake Erie’s harmful algal bloom season. Lead: Stuart Ludsin, Ohio State University. Read more...

Smarter charcoal use: guidance for plants during bloom season
Research in progress at The Ohio State University and the University of Toledo aims to provide guidance on how water treatment plants can most effectively remove harmful algal toxins from drinking water. Lead: John Lenhart, Ohio State University. Read more...

Do algal blooms lead to cancer?
Research investigates the role of the algal toxin microcystin in the development of liver cancer. Lead: Christopher Weghorst, Ohio State University. Read more...

Toxin-eating bacteria naturally thrive near harmful algal blooms
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. Lead: Xiaozhen Mou, Kent State University. Read more...

“Radar” for harmful algal blooms will give early warning to lake communities: Maumee Bay
New research will make it easier for communities and water managers to prepare for harmful algal blooms that could affect drinking water near Maumee Bay. Lead: Thomas Bridgeman, University of Toledo; George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green State University. Read more...

“Radar” for harmful algal blooms will give early warning to lake communities: Sandusky Bay
New research will make it easier for communities and water managers to prepare for harmful algal blooms that could affect drinking water near Sandusky Bay. Lead: George Bullerjahn, Bowling Green State University. Read more...

Using a virus to battle bacteria
New research at Ohio State investigates an environmentally friendly way to reduce microcystins in both lake water and water treatment plants.
Lead: Jiyoung Lee, Ohio State University. Read more...