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UT on front line of microcystin research (Via The Blade)

Every summer, we read news about harmful algal blooms threatening Toledo’s water supply. These blooms, which are a serious problem worldwide, can make the water unfit for all uses, risking the health of humans and animals alike. In the past few decades, the intensity and number of toxic algal blooms, and the associated economic impacts have increased throughout the world.

What is an algal bloom? Algal blooms are made up of cyanobacteria, a class of bacteria that obtains energy by photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria were first described as blue-green algae because of the plant-like blue-green color of the algal blooms. Cyanobacteria also feed off of sewage treatment plants, agricultural, and storm water run-offs that contain high amounts of molecules of nitrogen and phosphorus, also important food to these more.