Greenhouse waste may fight Lake Erie algae

PhD student David Ure. Photo by Windsor Star.

A University of Windsor chemistry and bio-chemistry doctoral student may have found a  tool to filter phosphate that causes algal blooms in Lake Erie. Surprisingly, the solution is local and readily available greenhouse waste:  tomato roots.  


The Windsor Star reported September 17 that David Ure’s experiments have shown that fibrous tomato roots could remove 71 per cent of the phosphate. The field test was conducted in manure-contaminated water in the Bruce Peninsula. The early results are encouraging in that greenhouse waste is plentiful in Essex County, the epicenter of the greenhouse sector.  


Biologically, the tomato roots are primed to take up nutrients. The potential is for growers to use tomato roots in large filters to capture phosphate before it reaches water courses that empty into Lake Erie.  


While more research is underway, Ure has published a paper in the Journal of Environmental Management. And his findings were presented at the International Association for Great Lakes Research annual conference in June 2019. 


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Source:   Windsor Star September 17, 2019 

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Publish date: 
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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