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Health Ministry identifies cause for ‘red rain’
[ Saturday, 17 November 2012, 04:01.17 PM GMT +05:30 ]
The red rain experienced in certain areas is due to the presence bacteria of the trachelomonas algae species, the Ministry of Health said today.

Rare red showers were reported from Sevenagala, Manampitiya, Hingurakgoda and Padiyatalawa areas in the southeastern parts of the island on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Ministry yesterday said tests will be carried out on samples of the rainwater, which were sent to the Medical Research Institute in Borella for laboratory tests.

Following bacterial tests conducted there it was forwarded to the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology, where it was identified that the change in the rainwater’s color was caused due to the presence bacteria of the ‘trachelomonas’ algae specie.

Most commonly found within soil, the bacteria are said to diverse between red and green colors.

The Medical Research Institute has also decided to conduct a DNA test in order to determine its genetic origins.

Red rain, also called blood rain due to its color, is said to be a common phenomena in the southern Indian state of Kerala as such rain had been reported in Kerala since early as 1896 and on several occasions since then.

Studies commissioned by the Indian government found that the color was due to the presence of a large amount of spores of a lichen-forming alga belonging to the genus Trentepohlia.

However, this is the first time red rain was witnessed in Sri Lanka.

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