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PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47844. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047844. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Applicability of hydrogen peroxide in brown tide control - culture and microcosm studies.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, USA.


Brown tide algal blooms, caused by the excessive growth of Aureococcus anophagefferens, recur in several northeastern US coastal bays. Direct bloom control could alleviate the ecological and economic damage associated with bloom outbreak. This paper explored the effectiveness and safety of natural chemical biocide hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) for brown tide bloom control. Culture studies showed that H(2)O(2) at 1.6 mg L(-1) effectively eradicated high density A. anophagefferens within 24-hr, but caused no significant growth inhibition in the diatoms, prymnesiophytes, green algae and dinoflagellates of >2-3 μm cell sizes among 12 phytoplankton species tested over 1-week observation. When applied to brown tide bloom prone natural seawater in a microcosm study, this treatment effectively removed the developing brown tide bloom, while the rest of phytoplankton assemblage (quantified via HPLC based marker pigment analyses), particularly the diatoms and green algae, experienced only transient suppression then recovered with total chlorophyll a exceeding that in the controls within 72-hr; cyanobacteria was not eradicated but was still reduced about 50% at 72-hr, as compared to the controls. The action of H(2)O(2) against phytoplankton as a function of cell size and cell wall structure, and a realistic scenario of H(2)O(2) application were discussed.

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