ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A new University of Minnesota study finds that cutting phosphorus in lakes to reduce algae blooms can have an unintended consequence.
According to the study, reducing phosphorus in lakes can lead to nitrogen pollution downstream.
Phosphorus, a nutrient, is washed into Minnesota lakes with leaves and lawn fertilizer. But the study finds reducing phosphorus to reduce algae blooms also can also result in less of the microbial processes that eliminate another unwanted nutrient: nitrogen.
The study says as a result, nitrogen can accumulate in large lakes and lead to nitrogen pollution downstream.
But rather than relaxing efforts to reduce phosphorus, the researchers say efforts to reduce nitrogen in lakes should be stepped up.
The study was published online Thursday in the journal Science.