The Effect of Nitrates on Algae Growth

Matthew Tracy, Ashley Thompson, Megan Wally, Onellah Weerakoon, Lindsey Worcester


We observed from other studies that in bodies of water that have high nitrate levels, the water seemed to be more polluted and have more algae growth. This lead us to the question of, does nitrate promote the growth of algae?  We hypothesized that the higher the nitrate levels the more algae will be produced because nitrates are essential for the production of proteins.  In order to test our hypothesis we placed different levels of nitrate, 2 ML, 4ML, 6ML, in a photo bioreactor along with 4ml of algae in each photobioreactor. It was then placed under a light for a week then observed for a change in algae cells. We saw a positive effect between the amount of nitrates added and algae growth. Algae growth was maximum at the highest amount of nitrates added. Our results showed that when nitrate was added, there was an increase of algae growth compared to when no nitrate was added. Thus, supporting that the nutrient nitrate does play a role in algae growth.

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