Investigating the Microbial dynamics of microcystin-lr degradation

Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) and the associated hepatotoxins produced (e.g. microcystins, MCs) create a significant human health risk in freshwater lakes around the world. Microbial degradation has shown to be the most viable solution to MC removal due to it being safer, more effective and more economical than various physical and chemical treatment options. Only one degradation pathway controlled by a specific gene operon has been determined, however its ubiquity in MC degrading species has been unsupported. Thus, it has been argued that other MC degrading pathways may exist among bacterial taxa. The current study uses a multi-genomic approach to study the structural, functional and metabolic signatures associated with a microbial community within Lake Erie beach sand environments. Through gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the microbial degradation mechanism, the outcomes of this project have potential applications in effectively treating MC contaminated lakes and freshwater sources and eradicating the health threats posed by CyanoHABs.

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