How Low Can You Grow? The Effects of pH on Nannochloropsis oculata growth

Blerton Morina, Jordan McDonald, Allen Mckendrick, Kannie Kiener, Jude Birkenholz


Optimizing biofuel production is an essential problem to combat fossil fuel emissions and determining the optimal pH levels is a component of this problem. Flora and fauna have been victims of varying pH levels which affects overall oxygen production and the rate of biomass. We hypothesized that Nannochloropsis oculata would grow more effectively in solutions with no additives that serve as our control which will result in an increase of N.oculata and chlorophyll density. To test the impact of pH changes in N.oculata, we conducted 4 trials for each experimental group two at pH 8.1 and two at pH 6.1. We found that the N.oculata grew more effectively in the three control groups which supports our hypothesis. The control groups had a higher cell count and a higher chlorophyll density compared to our experimental bottles. These results are vital in understanding how pH levels of low acidity affect aquatic environments and how chlorophyll count affects plant life, more specifically, algae.

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