Mexican scientist create bacteria that slows the growth of sargassum

The microorganism would consume substances such as phosphate and ammonium, the main foods of the algae.

CANCUN, Q. Roo.- A group of Mexicans scientist developed in a laboratory in New Orleans, United States, a bacterium capable of consuming substances such as phosphate and ammonium which are the main food of sargassum that would prevent the growth of algae.

Diego Macazaga Castrejón, leader of the project, said in an interview with Novena Roo News, that once the sargassum has no food it sinks into the water and disintegrates, so the idea is to take the bacteria through fumigating planes and make the process happen offshore before it reaches the coast.

They plan to attack the sargassum about five kilometers from the coast.  (Karim Moisés / SIPSE)

The idea is to throw this bacterium from the air over the sargassum spots, about five kilometers from the coast. For this, they have a calculated budget of about 35 million pesos per year to cover the 480 kilometers of coastline in Quintana Roo, although sources of financing have not yet been found.

He commented that the hypothesis was already tested successfully in a hotel in Tulum, in the Sargasso accumulated in the anti-sargazo barriers, but it is still necessary to test it in the open sea.

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Macazaga Castrejón argues that this bacterium has no repercussions on wildlife or marine ecosystems, but rather works as a bacterium that “cleans” contaminants such as phosphate and ammonium. “It would even be contributing to the sanitation of the reefs,” he said.

“They are bacteria that we find every day in nature that eat organic matter, they are simply taken to their maximum potential,” he says.

This bacterium has already been used in wastewater treatment plants, where it reduces pollutants up to 80 percent, as well as in solid waste treatment plants.

The project that arose by personal initiative, was presented to the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) last November, but as the problem was not so strong, he explained, the negotiation remained in a “we call you”.

Diego Macazaga Castrejón said that sargassum is a plague that is affecting the coasts of the Mexican Caribbean and is not being fought as such, because so far only solutions have been presented for when the sargassum has multiplied its size.

He added that the industry proposals to use sargassum are not viable as a business if it costs, say, 30 pesos to collect it and 10 pesos are taken from its use.

Source: sipse

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