Oceanographer: cyanobacteria can be toxic, but are not unequivocally bad organisms for humans

During intense multiplication, some species of cyanobacteria produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. However, they are not unequivocally evil organisms: they produce oxygen, and scientists hope that substances isolated from them will be useful in treating diseases of civilization.

In recent days, some bathing areas in the Baltic Sea have been closed due to blue-green algae blooms. According to Dr. Agata Blaszczyk of the Institute of Oceanography at the University of Gdansk, the last such a strong bloom took place in 2006. This is due to the optimal conditions for the development of cyanobacteria – since the end of May there have been high temperatures, and July is very warm in porown comparison with previous years.

Asked when the phenomenon can be expected to end, she said: Everything depends on the weather, because the bloom is a dynamic phenomenon. Wind gusts and precipitation or storms can interrupt the bloom in just hours, she added. In her estimation, however, the bloom will last rather a few more days.

Cyanobacteria are simple microorganisms thatore once considered plants, as they produce oxygen through photosynthesis. Research scientistscow have shown, however, that the structure of their comorki resemble bacteria. – That is why cyanobacteria are now referred to as cyanobacteria,” said Dr. Blaszczyk.

The researcher reminds that cyanobacteria are not unequivocally bad organisms for humans. – They produce the oxygen we need, and someore compounds, whichoThe compounds they produce are being tested for future use in medicines to combat diseasesob of civilization – including cancer. We have promising achievements in this field – mowi.

Scientistow even welcome the bloom of cyanobacteria for the reason that it is a great time for them to be collected in large quantities and studied in the laboratory. – We isolate compounds of interest from them, whichore we hope, we will use in medicine – mowi.

Dr. Blaszczyk mowi that not always blooming cyanobacteria are harmful to humans. This happens in the case of only a certain group of speciesow – but those when they do not bloom are not dangerous.

– During the bloom, they are visible in the form of a ┬┐oThe green spots. In the summer in the Baltic Sea bloom – so it is also this time – three species of blue-green algae, whichore occur simultaneously: Nodularia spumigena, Aphanizomenon flosaquae and Dolichospermum spp. But only N. spumigena produces toxins – moexperts.

Cyanobacteria occur in the Baltic Sea even in water thatora seems crystal clear to us. So much that they are scattered, and due to the fact that they are microorganisms, their maturation is then possible only with the help of a microscope. – However, then they are not dangerous for us – they produce only trace amounts of toxins, the researcher stipulates.

Cyanobacteria multiply rapidly when the water reaches high temperatures – approx. 18-20 st. C. and when in water thatorej they live in is a lot of tiesoin nitrogen and phosphorus (coming mainly from theownie from agriculture), whichore runoff from the pol cultivated to the Baltic Sea by rivers. – So the blame for their massive bloom lies with humans, ktory contributors to climate change and pollution by chemicals from pol crops,” the researcher estimates.

Dr. Blaszczyk warns that blue-green algae of the species Nodularia spumigena During multiplication, they generate a highly toxic substance – nodularin. – This compound has a devastating effect on the liver – contact with it can lead to gastrointestinal disorders – diarrhea and vomitingow. There have been reported deaths of animals in case of drinking water affected by cyanobacterial bloom – mowi Blaszczyk. In her opinion oproswimming is also dangerous for health during the bloom – the toxin can enter the body through the respiratory tract.

Why cyanobacteria produce the toxin? There is no clear answer to this – mowi Blaszczyk. Perhaps it is a protection against other organisms, a signaling substance, or perhaps a relic of the evolutionary process – indicates.

Cyanobacteria are pioneering organisms – they were among the first toore appeared on Earth several billionow years ago. Scientists believe that they probably contributed to the formation of an oxygen atmosphere – and therefore to the emergence of advanced life forms. Studies indicate that these microorganisms were present in the Baltic Sea 7 thousand. years ago. Cyanobacteria feel great in water – seas, rivers and lakes. They can also occur in extreme environments: hot sources ofodles, deserts, or among theod iceoin the Arctic.

SourceoSource: PAP – Science in Poland, Fot. CC BY-SA 4.0/ Kleber Renan de Souza Santos/ Wikimedia Commons