Long-term algal control in a reservoir using barley straw

  • P. R. F. Barrett
  • J. W. Littlejohn
  • J. Curnow
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 147)


Populations of cyanobacteria, diatoms and unicellular green algae in a potable supply reservoir have been suppressed continuously since 1993 by repeated treatments of barley straw. Algal cell numbers dropped soon after the straw was introduced and have remained at approximately one quarter of those recorded prior to treatment. All types of algae, including diatoms and cyanobacteria, have been uniformly affected and no new or resistant species have developed. Taint and odour problems in the potable water have been reduced and filters at the water treatment works require less frequent cleaning.

Key words

Algal control barley straw cyanobacteria diatoms 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barrett, P. R. F., 1994. Field and laboratory experiments on the effects of barley straw on algae. BCPC Monograph No. 59: Corn-paring glasshouse and field pesticide performance ii: 191–200.Google Scholar
  2. Barrett, P. R. F. & J. R. Newman, 1992. Control of algae. Progress Report, Aquatic Weeds Research Unit, Broadmoor Lane, Sonning, Reading, RG4 0TH. U.K.Google Scholar
  3. Barrett, P. R. F., J. C. Curnow & J. W. Littlejohn, 1996. The control of diatom and cyanobacterial blooms in reservoirs using barley straw. Hydrobiologia 340: 307–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Everall, N. C. & D. R. Lees, 1996. The use of barley straw to control general and blue-green algal growth in a Derbyshire reservoir. Wat. Res. 30: 269–276.Google Scholar
  5. Gibson, M. T. & P. R. F. Barrett, 1989. Terbutryn resistance in Vaucheria dichotoma. J. Appl. Phycol. 1: 167–170.Google Scholar
  6. Harriman, R., E. A. Adamson, R. G. J. Shelton & G. Moffett, 1997. An assessment of the effectiveness of straw as an algal inhibitor in an upland Scottish loch. Biocontrol Sci. Technol. 7: 287–296.Google Scholar
  7. Newman, J. R. & P. R. F. Barrett, 1993. Control of Microcvstis aeruginosa by decomposing barley straw. J. Aquat. Plant Mgmt. 31: 203–206.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. R. F. Barrett
    • 1
  • J. W. Littlejohn
    • 2
  • J. Curnow
    • 3
  1. 1.OxfordUK
  2. 2.Turriff LaboratoryNorth of Scotland Water AuthorityShandscross, Turriff, AberdeenshireUK
  3. 3.Department of Public Health MedicineGrampian Health BoardAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations