Fast Growers: The effects of fertilizers on Nannochloropsis oculata

Jaricca Johnson, Bailee Augustino, Abby Curry, Holly Cavender, Allison Cowan


Algae, or Nannochloropsis oculata, is a unicellular genus of microalgae often used in the making of biofuels. Our goal is to produce algae with the highest cell count, using three different types of fertilizers: Miracle Grow, Urea, and Ammonia. We hypothesized that ammonia will have the highest algae cell count because ammonia is used as a base for nitrogen fertilizers, and has the highest nitrogen levels out of any commercial fertilizers (TFI 2021). Our results revealed that the control group produced a higher cell count when combined with algae, not supporting our hypothesis. However, as the level of chlorophyll tends to be negatively affected by higher nitrogen levels, more research should be conducted to discover the desired concentration of ammonia that could be used to produce biofuels in the most efficient manner.

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