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A mystery toxic bacteria, never before identified anywhere in the world, has been discovered in the Fitzroy River. It can’t be seen, it has no smell and can lurk metres beneath the surface. But scientists at CQUniversity who detected the bacteria know it is poisonous to mammals and say further research is essential to assess its impact in freshwater ecosystems and the risk it might pose to drinking water supplies. Associate professor Larelle Fabbro said yesterday researchers in Rockhampton had used very advanced techniques to study the toxin which originates in a unique blue-green alga that looks like kangaroo droppings. "The project uses the genetic tests that are noted in programs such as CSI to track down unknown toxin producers," she said. The algae used to be confined to the Fairbairn Dam, near Emerald, but was washed throughout the Fitzroy catchment during last year’s floods. Professor Fabbro, who is the principal investigator, said the discovery should lead to increased monitoring of Central Queensland waterways and reduced health risks for animals and people. "Further work and funding is needed to isolate the toxin, determine its chemical structure and to assess its impact. The more information we have the better prepared we will be," she said.