The Effects of Salinity on Picochlorum oklahomense Growth

Jada Lusk, Lillie Snider, Sarah Lima, Isaiah Irby, Allison Wells


The goal of our research is to determine an affordable way to grow algae in order to produce biofuels. We wanted to analyze the relationship between salinity and algae growth. Salinity is essentially the salt concentration, or the amount of salt, in a body of water. We hypothesized that as the salt concentration increases, the growth of the algae will decrease. We tested this by measuring algae growth in four different salt concentrations. We set up four bioreactors using the methods outlined in our lab manual (French 2019). The 2% concentration served as our control group and we also tested a 0% solution, a 10% solution, and a 20% solution as well. After completing three trials, we used a hemocytometer to count the cells. Once we had the cell count for each solution, we graphed those values. We found that the algae growth rate decreased as salinity increased. These results support our initial hypothesis. Therefore, as researchers in the Biofuels Research and Aquatic Quality Collaborative (BiRAQC), we would recommend using a low level of salt for maximum algae growth.  

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