agriculture, research, rivers

Fungal Micro-pollution in Water

Molds, mushrooms, and yeasts – prevalent in all locales from the cracks of a sidewalk, in the forest, and sometimes even your refrigerator. At times, fungi have wonderful uses including yeasts for brewing beer or wine to the gastronomic delight of the rare white truffle. At other times, certain fungi will produce a substance toxic to living beings called Mycotoxins. Recently, research has found certain Mycotoxins (micro-pollution) originating from fungal outbreaks in food-crop fields will enter waterways through irrigation run-off, as noted in a review in Science Daily.

While some toxins in this family may weaken the immune system or act as an allergen, other toxins have no evident effect on humans. This study showed increased quantities of such micro-pollution in Swiss rivers, and indicated “a need for stronger monitoring and control of these overlooked micropollutants.” The report “Fusarium Mycotoxins: Overlooked Aquatic Micropollutants?” will be released on February 13, 2008 in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

By the way, this post reminds me of a favorite joke:

Why did the algae and and the fungus get married?

Well… they took a lichen to each other.

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drinking water, india, water treatment

New Delhi Water Utilities Shut Down

Two major water utilities servicing New Delhi, India shut down last week due to high and untreatable ammonia concentrations in the Yamuna River. Many in New Delhi, an approximated tens of thousands of people, were without water for three days straight, and uncertain supplies of water for hours at a time over the weekend.

Yamuna Sacred
Large industries dumping waste-water into the Yamuna upstream of New Delhi, are thought to be the culprit for unexpected rises in ammonia concentrations. Water problems are not unusual in New Delhi, as the New York Times so succintly states, infrastructure is in disrepair, sources are polluted, population is on the rise, and the government is blamed with poor water management. The Yamuna River, the central source of water for New Delhi, has been battling pollution problems for many years.

Check out this recent NPR piece on the Yamuna River.

Print: Yamuna Maharani holding a garlands of lotus petals near the Yamuna River, artist unknown.