When a body of water becomes unbalanced, one organism in particular benefits – cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae), because they are much better adapted to challenging conditions than other flora or fauna. This characteristic means that they can very quickly multiply in the unbalanced environment, displacing other species and rapidly worsening the condition of the body of water.
As an additional risk, blue algae can release toxins that are dangerous to humans and animals.
What are cyanobacteria or blue-green algae and what causes them?
Background and details
The basic problem is eutrophication: too many nutrients, too much blue-green algae
Despite their name, blue-green algae are bacteria rather than plants. More precisely, they are cyanobacteria. Like plants, however, they have the ability to photosynthesise, giving them their distinctive blue-green colour. Cyanobacteria are present in all bodies of water, usually in harmless concentrations. However, problems can arise if there is an oversupply of nutrients, for example from agricultural fertilisation, strong leaching or other causes. Phosphates in particular play a key role here, because when it comes to absorbing this substance – which is vital for all organisms – blue-green algae are superior to most competitors because of their incredible adaptability. Furthermore, unlike many plants, cyanobacteria love warm water with a slightly elevated pH value. Conditions like these are optimal for the blue-green algae and they can multiply extremely quickly.
Some of the consequences of excessive blue-green algae growth:
- Formation of strong nerve toxins, which are harmful to humans and possibly even lethal to animals
- The blue-green algae living on the water's surface absorb sunlight, thus depriving the plants living underwater of the light they need for photosynthesis
- Excessive build-up of biomass leads to oxygen depletion in the trophogenic zone, leading to the formation of toxic gases that can drive a lake towards an ecological tipping point.
Introducing our latest innovation: CyanoClear.
The active ingredient sodium percarbonate releases hydrogen peroxide in a controlled manner. This has been proven to be fast and effective at eliminating blue-green algae and neutralising their cyanotoxins.
How CyanoClear works
First application of CyanoClear
First aid for the Ganges
In May 2021, the northern Indian city of Varanasi experienced an extremely large blue-green algae bloom in the Ganges river. The fact that blue-green algae produces very strong toxins is particularly problematic here because the river is used for bathing, washing clothes and giving water to animals. Having just established a local branch office, OASE Professional decided to administer first aid to the river with a test application of CyanoClear.
On 14 and 15 June 2021, CyanoClear was applied to the Ganges. Just three hours after the first application, the amount of visible blue-green algae had been significantly reduced and the toxins had been neutralised. Neeraj Gahlawat, Project Officer at the National Mission for Clean Ganga, was very relieved about the quick effect and sent a thank-you letter to OASE Professional.