"Burgundy Blood Phenomenon" may have caused the Nile River to turn blood-red in the biblical plagues of Egypt

Anita Durairaj

Burgundy Blood Algae (scientific name Planktothrix rubescens) is a type of filamentous cyanobacteria. It amasses in algal blooms in water ecosystems.

There are various species of Planktothrix but it is the "Burgundy Blood Algae" or P. rubescens that causes reddish pigmentation.

The algae are also responsible for the Burgundy Blood Phenomenon. In this event, blooms of the P.rubescens algae cause a reddish hue to the water.

Scientists have speculated that the first biblical plague in Egypt - the turning of the Nile River into blood could have been caused by this algae as it is known to be toxic.

Burgundy Blood Algae even existed 3000 years ago so it could have affected the Nile River in Egypt during that time period.

The algae multiply in slow-moving waters when there are high levels of nutrition or when pollution affects the lake. When the algae die, it stains the water red.

The algae are also harmful to marine life, fishes, and birds. They can also impact human health so it is not unusual that there were subsequent plagues in Egypt after the Nile River turned to "blood."

For example, the toxic algae could have caused frogs to die or leave the water. This would have caused other species such as mosquitoes, flies, and insects to flourish leading to the biblical plagues of diseased livestock and boils.

The Burgundy Blood Algae still affects certain lakes in the world. Lakes that have recently been affected include Iran's Lake Urmia and Lake Zurich in Switzerland.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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