The Influence of Different Nutrients on Algal Growth

Bailey Mcmullen, Tess Maxfield, Aaron Patterson, Jayne Rowles, Lindsey Worcester


Biofuels that come from plants or animals can be used as an alternative energy source for fossil fuels (French 2015). Since biofuels can be derived from microalgae, we are testing how different factors – in our case, nutrient sources, affect algal growth. The production of more algae is necessary in order to produce more biofuels. To investigate the effects of different nutrient sources on algal growth rate, we created four monocultures of algae with three different nutrient sources – potassium nitrate, sodium phosphate, and urea, and recorded the algal growth rate after one week in an incubater. The results revealed that algal growth rate increased the most with potassium nitrate and urea as compared to sodium phosphate. Our results suggest that nitrogen sources could be favorable for increasing algal growth in order to produce more biofuels. Utilizing biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels could be extremely beneficial for future generations as our current primary resources – coal, oil, and natural gas – become increasingly scarce.

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