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Researchers Explore Using Viruses to Combat Blue-Green Algae

Mike Kiniry / WGCU
Blue-Green Algae Samples in Dr. Isern's Lab

New research just getting underway at Florida Gulf Coast University is exploring a novel approach to possibly someday controlling blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. While commonly referred to as an algae, cyanobacteria is actually a bacteria. And, like all bacteria, it has viruses that live inside of it, called phages. Some of them will cause it to flourish, some of them will cause it to die.

This new research is trying to isolate the ones that cause it to die, and see if it might be possible to use them to keep small blooms in their initial stages from turning into massive blooms that are out of control. We're joined by Dr. Sharon Isern, she is leading the research team conducting this study, and she's a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at FGCU.