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DM2009 Finalist From Serbia Finds Funding

Zorica Svirčev's picture

Since the DM2009 competition where our clean-water project was a finalist, we have received Serbian government funds for introducing new detection methods for the rapidly growing public health problem of cyanotoxins in water and plant and animal tissue.

Cyanobacteria has been on the Earth for 3.5 billion years, but global warming and climate change have significantly increased the occurrence of toxic cyanobacterial blooms, causing sickness and death for wildlife, livestock, and domesticated pets who drink freshwater contaminated with toxic algae blooms. The toxins pose a significant health threat to humans and other mammals that consume fish.

Thanks to the new funding from the Provincial Secretary for Science and Tehnological Development, our recent results, produced at the very beginning of 2010, show elevated content of toxins in fish meat, macrophyta tissue, and sediment of some commercial fish ponds. We also registered toxic blooms during December in one local lake.

Two postgraduate students have started their Ph.D. theses under my supervision, also again thanks to DM and governmental support.

 We have submitted a proposal to the Serbian Ministry of Science and Technology for organizing an international conference about global climate changes, cyanotoxin production, and human health. The conference will be held June 6-10 in Studenica at a Serbian monastery where the first hospital in this region was founded in the 16th century. During this conference we will present our DM project 4307 and inform the community about the problems, consequences, and possible solutions.

We also hope that Serbia's moving to European Union membership will result in new legislation regarding the European and WHO guidelines for cyanotoxin presence in drinking water (photo shows toxic blooms in drinking-water reservoir), fish, and algae products.

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