Algae-pers Creepers: The Effect of Different Nitrogen Sources on Algal Growth

Morgan Williams, Amanda Trostel, Alexandria Schut, Austin Smith, Michael Cobbs


When many people think of algae, they think of strange green growth, murky lakes and fish. However, the Biofuels Research and Aquatics Quality Collaborative (BiRAQC) is interested in algae for a very different, very interesting purpose: using them as biofuels (French 2015). We hypothesize that algal growth with ammonia added will be the greatest because ammonia is already in the most broken-down form algae requires to use the nitrogen, therefore using less energy breaking it down and more energy growing (Blankenship 1998). After growing algae in photobioreactors, we counted their growth and found that during our first week’s test, our hypothesis was supported. However, during the second week, our trials did not yield the growth we had expected. This could have been caused by many factors, many of which are detailed in this manuscript (Trent 2012).

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