A Snack That Can Fuel the World: Testing the Effects of Clementine’s on Chlorella vulgaris Growth

Camilla Austin, Adam Blount, Chloee Dean, Diego Diego Diaz, Jamie Najar


Algae can be found in all aquatic environments, however Biofuels Research and Aquatic Quality Collaborative (BiRAQC) focuses on researching local species of algae, so the focus of our study will be Chlorella vulgaris, a type of algae that can be found in Oklahoma waters. In our experiment we wanted to test what factors affect the rate of algae growth. Since the balance of nutrients plays a large role in algae productivity, we wanted to see if a citrus fruit peel (specifically a clementine), would benefit algae growth. We hypothesized that because a clementine, a citrus fruit hybrid between a mandarin orange and a sweet orange, is rich in antioxidants that in higher concentrations it will produce more algae growth. To test our hypothesis, we set up a total of eight bioreactors: two served as control, three served as low concentrations of clementine peel, and three served as high concentrations of clementine peel. Data was collected by calculating the cell density before and after one week for each bioreactor, and then averaging the results. Our results showed that higher concentrations of clementine peel resulted in higher algal growth, thus supporting our hypothesis.

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