TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Ohio Sea Grant released its 2017 update on the statewide Harmful Algal Bloom, or HAB, Research Initiative on Tuesday.

The initiative documented two years of progress in seeking solutions for harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

Ten Ohio universities and five state agencies participate in the initiative, with the University of Toledo being one of the lead universities.

The 54-page report features a variety of important on-going research by members of the UT Water Task force, including:

  • Early warning system for toxic algae in Lake Erie’s Maumee Bay by Dr. Tom Bridgeman, professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences, and Dr. Ricky Becker, associate professor in the UT Department of Environmental Sciences;
  • Developing methods to help water treatment plant operators make decisions on lake water pumping rates according to time of day and weather conditions in order to reduce exposure to algal toxins at the Lake Erie water intake, also by Bridgeman and Becker;
  • Transport and fate of cyanotoxins in drinking water distribution systems, such as pipes and storage tanks, by Dr. Youngwoo Seo, associate professor in the UT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering;
  • Investigating alternative biological filtration for algal toxin removal in water treatment through better understanding of microcystin-degrading bacteria, also by Seo;
  • Investigating the influence of potassium permanganate treatment on algal cell integrity and toxin degradation, also by Seo;
  • Developing microcystin-detoxifying water biofilters to upgrade water treatment filters with friendly bacteria through the discovery of enzymes and pathways responsible for microcystin degradation, by Dr. Jason Huntley, associate professor in the UT Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology;
  • Studying the accuracy of ELISA, the standard test measuring harmful algal toxins, in comparison to a more time-consuming but reliable method, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), by Dr. Dragan Isailovic, associate professor in the UT Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry;
  • Developing lab tests for detecting microcystin exposure through biological samples and measuring how much remains inside the body, also by Isailovic;
  • Evaluating the ability of commercially available home purification systems to remove algal toxins from tap water, by Dr. Glenn Lipscomb, professor and chair of the UT Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering;
  • Reconsidering recommended healthy exposure limits by studying the impact of algal toxins in experimental models of pre-existing liver disease, by Dr. David Kennedy and Dr. Steven Haller, assistant professors in the UT Division of Cardiovascular Medicine;
  • Studying health effects of recreational and work exposure to harmful algal blooms through fishing, swimming or boating, by Dr. April Ames and Dr. Michael Valigosky, assistant professors in the UT Department of Occupational and Public Health; and
  • Creating an online database to help inform public about harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, by Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT geography professor and associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

Other universities involved in the research are the Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, and Defiance College.

Ohio Sea Grant is proposing a third round of funding to continue the effort to address toxic algae in Lake Erie.

Visit here to view the full report.