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Université de Montréal

The University of Montreal and of the world

The University of Montréal
and of improving water quality         

Sébastien Sauvé

Researcher Sébastien Sauvé and his team are on the cutting edge of research into blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Global warming and pollution caused by humans are the source of this contamination, which not only affects lakes but can also have an impact on municipalities’ drinking water, with the attendant health risks.

The tools stemming from their research are designed to predict, prevent and treat the proliferation, or “blooms,” of blue-green algae, which have become a widespread problem in our lakes over the past two decades and are threatening an increasing number of bodies of water worldwide.

Cyanobacteria can cause gastroenteritis and rashes, for one thing. They are also suspected of affecting the liver and nervous system, which could make them one of the causes of cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why Sauvé’s team is working to equip municipalities with an easy-to-use kit for preventive detection of blue-green algae.

Sébastien Sauvé has been a Full/Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry at the Université de Montréal since 2001 and leads a team of some 15 researchers. To put together a “diagnostic toolkit” to assess the risk and toxicity of cyanobacteria and develop preventive and treatment strategies, the team has to trace the genetic code of the various microorganisms involved – around one hundred strains of cyanobacteria. Samples will be taken in America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and China.