Posted by Eric Roy on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 04:05 PM
So, as I mentioned in my last little communication, the idea of starting a business in order to produce a line of specialty chemical products, featuring cyanobacterial toxins, from the biomass contained in harmful algal blooms (HABs) was an interesting one, hopefully loaded with benefit for our customers , investors and other members of the Beagle pack. Backing up for a minute, I should mention that HABs are a growing and significant problem for our inland bodies of water potentially leading to illness, animal deaths, and limiting recreational use of lakes and rivers around the country. So, our ability to develop a productive use for some of the material contained in a HAB has benefit for Beagle without cost to the site containing the bloom. In some situations we may be able to provide data to a lake management society or a water treatment facility that could prove valuable in their monitoring efforts. One of the things that should be an advantage for us over time is that we are a niche company; not many folks produce cyanobacterial toxin products for sale in this country! However, we get lots of questions about some things we do not do, and that is important as well.
First, we cannot clean up your HAB. The amount of biomass that we collect at any given site is a very small fraction of what may be present, and will not have a remediation impact at this time. Who knows what the future might hold, but as of now HAB treatment needs to focus on reducing known and controllable causes of these blooms, which includes agricultural runoff (some factors that contribute to HABs are not necessarily controllable, such as heat and heavy rain). One of the last things we want to do is disappoint folks involved with our harvesting sites, so we reinforce this message whenever possible.
Second, we can’t definitively predict the location or severity of harmful algal blooms. The known factors referred to in the previous paragraph that contribute to the creation and severity of HABs combine with other factors to create blooms of varying intensity. Once an area experiences a HAB it is more likely for that event to recur, especially if the factors that led to the bloom continue to occur. For example, the build-up of phosphorus from agricultural runoff may cause repeat blooms in the same body of water for years. Although information we can provide may be useful in monitoring efforts, the ability to forecast these blooms is not enhanced by what we do.
Finally, even though we produce products from material contained in harmful algal blooms, we are not an algae company, and we are absolutely not an algal biofuels company. My partner, Stephanie Smith, wrote more about that here. Lots of time, money and effort have been invested in that industry-just not and never by us! That has led to some confusion, which we try to eliminate.
So, over the next several months, hopefully we can provide many benefits for our customers doing what we do-selling specialty chemical products, featuring cyanobacterial toxins such as microcystin. And now you know what the Beagles don’t do!
Thanks for reading,