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A Scientific Solution to Beating Lyngbya

What is Lyngbya?

In the scientific world, it is a filamentous cyanobacteria with long unbranching filaments inside a mucilaginous sheath. In the real world, Lyngbya is an aquatic professional’s worst nightmare. It is aggressive and difficult to control.

A survival specialist, Lyngbya uses several mechanisms to ensure it stays happy and healthy. Its thick glycoprotein sheath adds an extra physical barrier that fortifies the cell wall. On top of this layer is an established microbial community, or microbiota, that works mutualistically with the Lyngbya. The microbiota defends its host by helping to gather resources for growth or shielding it from environmental and chemical impacts (i.e. algaecides).

Found in water bodies of all sizes, Lyngbya grows thick mats attached to the bottom. It releases in smaller sheets that float to the surface of the water. Theses sheets can become so dense that they make waterways impassable, fishing impossible, and swimming unbearable. It also crowds out other aquatic vegetation, gives off bad odors, and can release cyanotoxins that are harmful to the aquatic ecosystem.

Microscopic images of Lyngbya filaments recorded in our laboratory

To make matters even worse, viable Lyngbya cells can enter water bodies in a variety of ways. They can be attached to boat hulls or carried in the bilge. They can be transported by animals directly or through fecal matter. They can even be carried long distances by severe weather events! Even the most vigilant management practices have a hard time keeping Lyngbya out when it wants to get in.

How to Control Lyngbya

The first step to controlling Lyngbya is preparing for a long battle. The second step is to make sure you have the proper combination of weapons and technology. The third step is implementing a strategy that fits your water body and being prepared to adjust the strategy as needed.

Many herbicides and algaecides, or combinations of them, have been used to try and control Lyngbya. The most common method is using a chelated copper algaecide and / or endothall herbicide. When used alone, the chemicals have shown limited results, especially when it comes to preventing regrowth. The Lyngbya and its microbiota adapt and shift until the surrounding environment becomes more favorable.

To aid the herbicides and algaecides that kill the Lyngbya, Naturalake Biosciences developed the biocatalyst AquaSticker. What makes this biological sticking agent different is that it increases contact time and temporarily disrupts the microbiota on the Lyngbyaby fostering competitive microbial growth. Upsetting the natural balance breaks the mutualistic relationship and enhances chemical uptake by the Lyngbya.

Using AquaSticker with the traditional chemical treatments improves treatment efficiency and results. Use AquaSticker. Beat Lyngbya.

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