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Research team finds that microorganisms filter nitrogen from small streams
Date:3/14/2008

odds and the other scientists learned is that organisms like bacteria, algae and fungi are responsible for removing nitrogen from small streams. This reduces the amount that makes its way into larger rivers, lakes and in oceans, where nitrogen can trigger excessive growth of algae and aquatic plants. The researchers learned that the filtration process works best if small streams are allowed to do their job before merging with larger waterways. But small streams can do a better job of filtering if less nitrogen gets into the streams in the first place.

"An important thing to take away from this research is to understand how we're saturating our streams with nitrogen," Dodds said. "As you increase nitrogen, small streams become overwhelmed and cannot do their job."

Knowing the role that microorganisms play in removing nitrogen from small streams presents opportunities for research that can make waterways cleaner.

"What we can ask is which microorganisms are removing nitrogen and what management approach is most likely to stimulate that occurring," Dodds said.


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Contact: Walter Dodds
wkdodds@k-state.edu
785-532-6998
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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