Washing Away Algae: The Effects of Detergents on Algal Growth.

Gillian Walker, Bailee Orr, Danielle Perryman


Algae is very sensitive to outside factors.  Detergents are a leading pollutant of water sources.  The many ingredients of detergents can have either an antagonistic, additive, or synergistic effect on the toxicity of water.  It is now common for environmentally friendly detergents to be phosphate free although not much is known about their effect on aquatic environments.  We studied the effects of one detergent containing phosphate, and two phosphate free, plant based detergents on the dissolved oxygen of algae.  It was found that USDA certified environmentally friendly products do decrease eutrophication of algae.  An environmentally friendly detergent that was not USDA certified, had the same effects as a phosphate containing, non-environmentally friendly detergent.  

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