Concours de vulgarisation scientifique – Yanyan Zhang

 Yanyan Zhang est candidate au doctorat à l’Université McGill avec Joann Whalen et codirigée par Sébastien Sauvé de l’Université de Montréal. Elle s’intéresse aux cyanotoxines retrouvées dans les bassins versants agricoles et à leur quantification dans les sols et les plantes.
Résumé du projet de recherche :
Cyanotoxins in agricultural watersheds and their quantification in the soil-plant system
Cyanobacteria and their cyanotoxins are present in many regions and ecosystems worldwide. Eutrophic freshwater lakes that receive regular inputs of nutrient-rich runoff from agricultural land are an ideal environment for cyanobacteria blooms, which are associated with cyanotoxin production, but cyanotoxins could also be present in, or originate from, the soils, groundwater and the vadose zone of agricultural watersheds. Humans will be exposed to these toxins when they consume cyanobacteria-contaminated groundwater and crops grown in contaminated soils. However, we do not understand fully the occurrence of cyanotoxins in ecosystem compartments besides eutrophic waterbodies. One of the major challenges is to develop quantitative methods that can detect the biologically significant cyanotoxins at low concentrations, and another challenge is to sensitize the agricultural community to the risk of cyanotoxins to agricultural plants, which has consequences for the health of animals and humans that consume those plants. Therefore, I will present these knowledge gaps that have filled by my Ph.D. project.