Effects of Potassium Nitrate on Algal Growth

Zachary Slayton, Justin Silas, Kody Smith, Savannah Skiles, Yetkin Ipek


In the modern world of agriculture, farmers use fertilizers to increase the growth of the crops; however, when excess nitrogen is in runoff from agricultural sites in waterways, it contributes to eutrophication. In our experiment, we are hypothesizing that excess amounts of nitrogen in water increase the rate of algae growth, thus promoting eutrophication to produce biofuels. We set up bioreactors (bottles of water containing algae and amounts of nitrogen) to grow the algae for seven days. We then used a hemocytometer to collect cell counts and the fluorometer to collect the chlorophyll concentration. The results showed that the experimental group exceeded the control group in rate of growth of algae. The cell count per milliliter and chlorophyll concentration were both recorded higher in the experimental group. This means that nitrogen amounts are positively correlated with the rate of algae growth. Society will benefit from this research because it provides an avenue for sustainability other than fossil fuels.

Full Text:



Crain, C. M.. 2007. Shifting nutrient limitation and eutrophication effects in marsh vegetation across estuarine salinity gradients. Estuaries and Coasts 30: 26-34

Demirbas, M Faith. 2011. Biofuels from algae for sustainable development. Applied Energy 88: 3473-3480

French, Donald. 2019. Investigating Biology. Fountainhead Press, Southlake, Texas.

Galloway J.N., Leach A. M., Bleeker A., and Erisman J. W.. 2013. A chronology of human understanding of the nitrogen cycle. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 368 doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0120.

Moak S., Matthesen C., McGrath M., Mohar L., Deal K.. 2016. How Much is Too Much: The Effects Doubling and Tripling the Amount of Nitrogen on Algae. Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations 4: 1-3


  • There are currently no refbacks.