Navigation Links
University of Tennessee Team receives NSF support to study toxic water in China

More than 12 million Chinese rely on Lake Taihu for drinking water but about 20 years ago the once pristine lake turned pea green. It had become overrun with toxic blue-green algae which can damage the liver, intestines and nervous system.

Two researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will be working on an international team funded by two new National Science Foundation awards totaling $2.5 million to resolve the ecosystem balance in the lake. Their work could help safeguard America's water supply.

"China provides a unique opportunity to test ideas and management efforts in highly polluted and nutrient enriched lakes that we predict we will see in North America in the coming decades," said Jennifer DeBruyn, an assistant professor in the Department for Biosystems Engineering and Soil Sciences.

DeBruyn and Steven Wilhelm, professor of microbiology, will team with an international group of researchers and students to combine molecular biology, ecological analysis and environmental remediation. Their goal is to create mathematical models of how ecosystems function based on quantitative data generated by state-of-the-art molecular biological techniques. They will then provide an informed strategy to Chinese government officials.

"Over the past three decades, industrial effluents, farm runoff, and sewage have besieged Lake Taihu, pushing its ecosystem critically out of balance," said Wilhelm. "In the summer, when lake surface temperatures heat up, blue-green algae blooms with a vengeance."

Just as the saying goes "it takes a village to raise a child," Wilhelm says a toxic algal bloom has many parents. The researchers will examine all the organisms that could be contributing to the blooms, including looking at what they are consuming and the waste products they are creating for a comprehensive picture of how the blooms are created.

"We will literally be counting the activity of genes in different organisms and then seeing how that influences the environment," Wilhelm said. "We will be doing a number of projects such as measuring how fast cells assimilate nutrients, while other students will be quantifying the expressing of genes associated with these processes."

In the end, they will have a science-based strategy to guide Chinese provincial and central government officials in bringing and maintaining Lake Taihu below the toxic algae threshold. That strategy will be transferrable to similar lakes worldwide.

The research is supported by the NSF's INSPIRE and Dimensions in Biodiversity programs. Both awards are over four years.

Under the INSPIRE program, the researchers will examine how different chemical forms of nutrients interact with climate change to control which populations of algae proliferate in lake systems. They will collaborate with professors Hans Paerl of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Gregory Boyer from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Under the Dimensions in Biodiversity program, the researchers will seek to understand how the microbial members of the lake community interact to control ecosystem health through biogeochemical, molecular biological and mathematical modeling approaches. Five American and four Chinese academic institutions will collaborate on the project.

Contact: Whitney Heins
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Related biology news :

1. University of Houston study shows BP oil spill hurt marshes, but recovery possible
2. University of Alberta led research may have discovered how memories are encoded in our brains
3. BGI, University of Helsinki and Wuhan University sign a MOU concerning cooperation on genomics
4. Marshall University study may lead to new treatments for prostate cancer
5. University leads £6 million EU project to tackle obesity
6. A University of Tennessee professors hypothesis may be game changer for evolutionary theory
7. Life expectancy may affect when you get married, divorced, have kids: Queens University study
8. University of Toronto biologists predict extinction for organisms with poor quality genes
9. University of Minnesota invention helps advance reliability of alternative energy
10. Israel names Tel Aviv Universitys Renewable Energy Center a Center of Research Excellence
11. University of Minnesota startup offers game-changing energy solutions that reduce CO2 emissions
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
University of Tennessee Team receives NSF support to study toxic water in China
(Date:10/29/2015)... OXFORD, Connecticut , October 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on the ... Wocket® smart wallet announces that StackCommerce, a leading ... will be featuring the Wocket® smart wallet on ... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by ... --> --> Synaptics works ... strategic collaboration in the joint development of next generation ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) ... Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... The global voice recognition biometrics market to grow at ... --> --> The report, Global ... on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... and HOLLISTON, Mass. , Nov. ... (Nasdaq: HART ), a biotechnology company developing bioengineered ... Jim McGorry will present at the LD ... 2015 at 2:30 p.m. PT. The presentation will be ... 30 days. Management will also be available at the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, ... will participate in a fireside chat discussion at the ... New York . The discussion is scheduled for ... .  A replay will be available ... Contact:McDavid Stilwell  , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United ... recipient of the 2016 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA ... his or her work with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper is an essential micronutrient ... to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 million award ... will conduct a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: