Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists monitor with phosphorus the algal blooms in European lakes

Date:
August 28, 2013
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
An international research team has analyzed the relationship between the amount of phosphorus recorded in 1,500 European lakes and reservoirs, and the growth of cyanobacteria, a toxin-producing microorganism. The results show that 23% of these water masses in Spain exceed the level established by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This percentage is closer to 50% for Germany and the Netherlands.

Cyanobacteria bloom in a lake.
Credit: CEDEX

An international research team has analysed the relationship between the amount of phosphorus recorded in 1,500 European lakes and reservoirs, and the growth of cyanobacteria, a toxin-producing microorganism. The results show that 23% of these water masses in Spain exceed the level established by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This percentage is closer to 50% for Germany and the Netherlands.

"Toxins produced by cyanobacteria represent a significant health risk both in water used for consumption and for recreation. However, levels of said toxins are not usually measured in recreational water, so the WHO has provided risk levels related to the quantity of these microorganisms in water," Caridad De Hoyos, researcher from the Centre for Studies and Experimentation in Public Works (CEDEX), explained to SINC.

Specifically, the WHO established two cyanobacteria concentrations (2 mm3/l and 10 mm3/l) which should not be surpassed in recreational waters as they could be harmful to human health representing low and moderate probabilities respectively. The potential effects identified range from skin irritation to allergic reactions and serious digestive problems.

Now, a study carried out by scientists from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and other European centres -- including CEDEX -- reveals that 23% of lakes and reservoirs in Spain exceed the first level established by the WHO, which could lead to cyanobacteria blooms in some of them. The data is published in the 'Journal of Applied Ecology'.

In general, the lakes in central Europe present the most significant health risk. In some countries, over half have exceeded the level 1 -- 53% in the Netherlands and 47% in Germany. The situation is better in the Nordic countries such as Norway and Sweden, where this problem affects barely 5% of their water masses.

To obtain this data, the researchers have compared the amount of cyanobacteria with recorded levels of phosphorus in 1,506 European lakes. "The increase of cyanobacteria detected in the last few decades is due to the increase of nutrients in water masses, especially phosphorus," De Hoyos explains.

Phosphorus from agriculture and industry

Scientists have developed a model which gives the maximum potential capacity of water masses to produce cyanobacteria at different phosphorus concentrations reaching lakes and reservoirs from agricultural or industrial activities.

The results show that the probability of exceeding the WHO's level 1 for recreational waters increases from around 5% when there are 16 micrograms per litre (΅g/l) of phosphorus present, to over 40% if there are 54 ΅g/l of the nutrient.

It has also been observed that approximately 50% of lakes studied do not exceed the cyanobacteria levels given by the WHO even though they have high concentrations of phosphorus. According to De Hoyos, "this shows the importance of other factors, such as the water renewal rate, in cyanobacteria growth."

The researcher highlights that the model "can be used to identify nutrient levels which allow us to keep water masses used for recreational purposes, in accordance with required risk levels and the service they provide."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Laurence Carvalho, Claire McDonald, Caridad de Hoyos, Ute Mischke, Geoff Phillips, Gαbor Borics, Sandra Poikane, Birger Skjelbred, Anne Lyche Solheim, Jeroen Van Wichelen, Ana Cristina Cardoso. Sustaining recreational quality of European lakes: minimizing the health risks from algal blooms through phosphorus control. Journal of Applied Ecology, 2013; 50 (2): 315 DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12059

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Scientists monitor with phosphorus the algal blooms in European lakes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130828092046.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2013, August 28). Scientists monitor with phosphorus the algal blooms in European lakes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130828092046.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Scientists monitor with phosphorus the algal blooms in European lakes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130828092046.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) — As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) — New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) — A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
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