Blue-Green Algae

Blue-Green algae are an avital chapter for the NEET exam preparation as per the NEET biology syllabus. This article is going to fulfill all your understanding and it would be helpful for the NEET aspirants and for the other exams. These important notes of NEET blue-green algae cover all the significant concepts, and topics for the exam. Check and refer this article for gaining the utmost knowledge and do not let your preparation go futile and crack NEET within the first attempt.

What are Blue-Green Algae?

Blue-green algae are often referred to as Cyanobacteria, are a definite group of photosynthetic bacteria that generally grows up in ponds, lakes, where the water is lukewarm and enriched with nitrogen and phosphorus. These bacterias are mainly blue-green, but it can also be found in green, reddish-purple, or brown color.   

The blue-green algae can grow expeditiously with an accurate environmental condition. These are mainly buoyant and form floating mats on the surface of the water. This is known as “blue-green algae bloom.” Their blooming period is mainly between mid-June and late September, but in sparse cases, it has bloomed in the winter season. 

Some diversified species of blue-green algae are Anabaena sp., Microcystis sp., Aphanizomenon sp., and Planktothrix sp. 

How Do They Differ from The True Algae?

Blue-green algae cover a specific portion of the water body like true algae, but they are not eaten by the organisms. Unlike true algae, they are not a vital part of the food chain. These are denoted as “primary producers” as they can convert inorganic chemicals and sunlight into usable energy for subsistent organisms. Most algae are the high energy providers to larger organisms like zooplankton, and they can be found under the microscope. Zooplanktons are thereby eaten by the small fish, which in return, are eaten by the larger fish. Both small and larger fishes are eaten by the raptors and mammals. These true algae often bloom at the timing of blue-green algae and mistakenly considered as blue-green algae.

What Are The Concerns Associated with the Blue-Green Algae?

The leading concerns associated with blue-green algae include toxin productions, curtailed light infiltration, taste and malodor issues, discolored water, dissolved oxygen depletion during die-off, etc. When these algae grow in sufficient bloom density, then they can significantly curtail the light penetration into the water, which causes adverse effects on the aquatic organisms directly and indirectly. It is absolutely not recommended not to drink raw water as they grow in the surface of the water and change the composition of water and make it tasteless. 

When blue-green algae die, their cells sink, and microbes break down their cell. This process of breakdown needs oxygen and may create biological oxygen demand. The enhancement of biological oxygen demand (BOD) significantly results in the curtailment of oxygen concentration in the water, which may cause a pernicious effect on aquatic life.

What can be Done to Curtail the Frequency and Intensity of Blue-Green Algae Blooms?  

There are no significant prompt remedies to curtail the frequency of blue-green algae once they appear in a pond. Curtailing the quantity of nutrients that have been used to clean our ponds will eventually decrease the intensity of blue-green algae. But this is not a quick process as it requires the involvement of the community to fruitfully change the concentration of nutrients in a water body. This is due to the fact that there could be some amount of nutrients present at the bottom, which may facile the blooming process of blue-green algae. However, you can help by diminishing the nutrient concentrations by uplifting the following practices in your community:

  • Lawn fertilizers should only be used when actually required.

  • Prevent yard relics from washing into storm drains.

  • Always support a local provision that needs silt curtains for commercial and residential construction.

  • Make sure to plant and sustain vegetative buffer strips along with the shorelines of ponds. 

 Advantages of Blue-Green Algae:

  • Blue-green algae are a rich source of protein and its protein is the optimum source of the essential amino acids.

  • 100grams of blue-green algae contains 2grams of carbohydrate and no fat. It is generally a low-calorie food.

  • It also provides myriad amounts of vital minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamin-A, C, E, B-6, etc.

  • It can significantly boost-up your immune system and protect us from fatal viruses. 

  • Consuming a proper amount of blue-green algae can enhance your tolerance of exercise and also alleviate fatigue. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is blue-green algae blooming?

A: When there is a significant enhancement of cyanobacteria in the water body, a dense mass is formed, known as blue-green algae bloom.

2. What are the problems caused by the blue-green algae?

A: Some problems are:

  • Deteriorating the lives of aquatic organisms.

  • Deplete the oxygen content of water creatures.

3. Are the blue-green algae always toxic?

A: Well, most of the algae blooms do not contain toxins, but there is no possibility to ascertain the presence of toxins without proper testing. So, all blooms are considered to be toxic at once. A few mouthfuls of blue-green algae contaminated water may cause hazardous poisoning.