Cyanobacteria blooms; a toxic problem in Australia and worldwide
Cyanobacteria blooms are not only ugly, but can be deadly, not only to animals such as dogs and cattle, but sometimes to to humans as well. For the first time in reported history, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed algal toxins in municipal drinking water made people sick.
Cyanobacteria blooms contains over 1,000 toxins. Many, such as Microcystins, are more poisonous than cyanide and can sicken or kill people, fish, birds, dogs and livestock. There’s no question that Microcystins cause liver disease and cancer, that is a well established fact. There are a lot of dogs and livestock that die every year (from drinking affected water), and you certainly don’t want to be swimming in that stuff if there’s an active bloom. It isn’t just drinking or swimming in affected water. Aerosols form near affected water and scientists have warned against jogging and breathing heavily on paths nearby since toxins can be absorbed in the lungs.
Detect and Measure Microcystins
Microcystins in water can be measured with the Zeulab Microcystest, a simple and rapid enzymatic test for the detection of microcystins and nodularins in drinking and recreational water. It is the first and only commercially available kit based on the inhibition of the PP2A activity by microcystins, and able to detect and quantify all potential toxic microcystins present in the sample. The one-step assay can be completed in 30 minutes.
A Cocktail of Deadly Toxins
As research continues, other compounds such as BMMA (beta-Methylamino-L-alanine) and toxins with similar molecular structures, such as Anatoxin-A, a neurotoxin, are becoming more strongly linked with insidious chronic effects, A new study has found BMMA is possibly linked to diseases including ALS and Alzheimer’s in cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Winnipeg, Canada. Another found potential links between cyanobacteria blooms and neurological disease in clusters around lakes in the US State of New Hampshire. Even a report on a study by the US Geological Survey – that shed some doubt on the findings of this research – highlighted the fact that we shouldn’t let this debate distract us from tackling the problem of cyanobacteria blooms.