Articles, Blog

Algae and virus interaction in freshwater lakes

February 2, 2020

Hi my name is Pramir KC and I’m a graduate
student doing my PhD at the University of Tennessee in the Department of Microbiology. I study the interaction between algae and
viruses infecting them, and I use specifically bioinformatics and mathematical modeling as
a tool. I study Microcystis aurigenosa, which as algae. This algae causes harmful algal bloom. Certain viruses infect those algaes and in
regular scenarios, these algaes — the virus grows with the algae and it divides without
killing them. But in special scenarios these viruses multiply
inside the algal host and in these scenarios it bursts out of the cell, killing the host
cell. It is a well establish fact that certain environmental
factors can trigger the lysis of the host, which is Microcystis aeruginosa by the viruses
infecting them. By understanding what are these factors, we
can manipulate the environmental conditions such that the viruses can lyse the host and
clear out the algae from the bloom area. It is very important because a lot of people
rely on the supply of the water sources from these lakes, and by clearing the bloom by using the viruses,
we can clean the water supply and that helps the livelihood of many thousands of people
living around those areas.

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