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Purple bacteria turns German ponds purple – News

Purple bacteria turns German ponds purple – News

  • The lake, colored in shades of purple, is currently an attraction in Ostallgäu in Germany's southernmost region.
  • The so-called Gipsbruchweiher near Füssen (Bavaria) changes color due to bacteria.

This spectacle can usually only be seen every few years, and recently, the pond was discolored by purple bacteria in 2020.

Karl Schendel, head of the local water management office, explained that the basic condition for the bacteria to appear is the presence of little oxygen and sulfur in the water. “The bacteria are usually in the water, so you can't see them.”

Under certain conditions they will come to the surface. Temperature, wind and light exposure may affect color change. In this regard, it is not possible to predict how long the landscape will last.


Gypsum quarry pond water is colored purple.

Keystone/Karl Joseph Hildenbrand

A number of interested people have already made their way to the lake in the past few days. Schendel sees no risk to human or animal health.

In contrast to the blue-green algae that also arises from time to time in lakes, the purple bacteria do not produce any toxins, he said. Right now, no one is likely to go swimming in the pond because the water smells like sulphur.