Determining Which Nitrogen Source More Effectively Increases Algae’s Photosynthetic Rates

Jeffrey Mcneal, Halie Ransom, Robert Mangham, Ky Shen


 Algae has been recognized as a promising biofuel source due to its natural production of harvestable oil. To maximize oil production, the algae’s growth must be maximized. When treated with nitrogen, an essential element for plant and algal photosynthesis, algae is able to absorb more sunlight which in turn leads to increased growth. The purpose of our experiment was to determine how urea and potassium nitrate affect algae’s photosynthetic rates. In order to test these rates the chlorophyll and cell density was calculated from two urea and potassium nitrate enriched algae samples over two weeks. Our data showed potassium nitrate enriched solutions had higher chlorophyll concentration and cell density after two weeks growth. This supports our prediction and hypothesis ultimately taking BiRAQC a step closer to understanding the most practical route commercialization of algae based biofuel production.

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