Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Identify What Makes Deadly Algae More Toxic

Date:
November 11, 2009
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
Researchers have identified a key component that increases the toxicity of golden algae which kills millions of fish in the southern U.S. every year.

Baylor University researchers have identified a key component that increases the toxicity of golden algae (Prymnesium parvum), which kills millions of fish in the southern U.S. every year.

The Baylor study is the first to determine what makes the deadly golden algae more potent in inland waters. The results have been published the journal Toxicon.

While golden algae is primarily a coastal species, it has been found in Texas rivers and lakes, including Lake Whitney and Lake Waco in Central Texas, and Lake Granbury in North Texas. Experts understand that several environmental factors influence toxin production, but now new research from Baylor scientists shows that once the toxin is released into the water, its propensity to cause harm to the environment is influenced by the lake's pH level. In fact, the toxins become more potent at higher pH, which the Baylor researchers say is interesting because blooms may actually increase pH.

The Baylor researchers examined the pH and toxicity of several lakes in central and north Texas known for large golden algae fish kills. They also performed laboratory experiments to confirm observations in the field and used computational models to examine physicochemical properties of golden algae toxins at various pH. They found that as the pH level in the lakes increased so did the toxicity of the algae. In fact, the potency of the algae was nearly five times greater at a pH level of 8.5 than it was at 6.5.

"These results suggest that at least some of the identified toxins released by golden algae are weak bases. Consequently, in-reservoir pH may substantially influence their availablity, fate, and ultimately their toxicity," said Ted Valenti, a Baylor doctoral student who was lead author on the article, which resulted from a study funded by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency to Dr. Bryan Brooks, associate professor of environmental sciences at Baylor. "The continuation of monitoring efforts coupled with further investigation of climate and land-use patterns is critical. This interdisciplinary approach may allow researchers to better understand bloom formation and pH dynamics in reservoirs, which may allow them to better predict and mitigate fish kills in the future."

Along the Brazos River in north and central Texas, more than 6 million fish have been killed since 1988 due to high golden algae levels, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife. In fact, just two years ago, thousands of dead fish washed up on the shores of Lake Whitney. But this was a small incident in comparison to a similar event in 2005, when more than a million fish died in the lake over a three-month period. Officials believe large golden algae blooms contributed to the deaths, attacking the fishes' gills and causing them to suffocate.

The Baylor researchers worked in collaboration with Dr. Daniel Roelke at Texas A&M University and Drs. James Grover and Kevin Schug at the University of Texas at Arlington.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "Researchers Identify What Makes Deadly Algae More Toxic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110211333.htm>.
Baylor University. (2009, November 11). Researchers Identify What Makes Deadly Algae More Toxic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110211333.htm
Baylor University. "Researchers Identify What Makes Deadly Algae More Toxic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110211333.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins