Welcome to NITROLIMITIn the summer, we love to dip into cool, clear lake water to relax and regain energy. But just how good is the water quality of our lakes and rivers?
High nutrient concentrations stimulate the growth of algae in many lakes. As a consequence of high algae biomass the water can become murky, oxygen-deficient and malodorous. The affected lakes are rather unappealing to humans and unsuitable as a habitat for many plants and animals.
It was previously assumed that phosphorous content is the primary determinant of algal biomass, i.e., the lower the phosphorus content, the lower the biomass of algae. Control measures were therefore aimed at the reduction of phosphorus loads. These measures have improved the ecological status of some but by no means all lakes.
Nitrogen has also to be considered as a control factor for algal growth. Consequently, additional requirements are now in place to reduce nitrogen discharges to improve water quality. However, a lack of scientific evidence has made it impossible to analyze the actual efficacy or cost of implementation of this strategy thus far.
The BMBF research project NITROLIMIT is launched as the first comprehensive research endeavor of a multidisciplinary team of scientists from seven research institutions to answer the question: Is nitrogen reduction ecologically meaningful and economically feasible? Insights gained from NITROLIMIT will serve as the basis of future recommendations for sustainable water management.