Influence of the Nutrient, Nitrogen, on Multiple Metrics of Algal Growth

Callahan Figgs, Meagan Jackson, Alexia Franklin, Skyler Gill, John F Stewart


            When adding potassium nitrate, one will see that the chlorophyll in algae will decrease while the algal count will increase because nitrogen is essential to plant growth. To test this, we built four photobioreactors while adding potassium nitrate to two of the bottles and using the other two as the controls. We measured the amount of algae cells in each sample with a hemocytometer. We then counted the number of algae cells through a microscope. Using a fluorimeter, we counted the chlorophyll per liter which we used to calculate the amount of chlorophyll per cell. This determines the devotion of the cells to photosynthesis. Other studies carried out have also found that added nitrogen increases the growth of algal blooms. Our experiment matched these studies because we also found that nitrogen increased the algae cell count and dry weight. This study shows the role that the nutrient, nitrogen, plays in the amount of biofuel available for harvesting based on the number of algae available.

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