Effects of Varying Amounts of Sodium Nitrate on Halophile Picochlorum oklahomensis

Alexis Butefish, Connor Aerni, Caleb Calhoun, Kelly Easterling


The use of biofuels in replacement of fossil fuels is rising, prompting research for what organisms are suitable for biofuels and how they thrive. In order to understand how to help develop effective utilizaton of this resource, we decided to investigate the effects of varying amounts of nitrogen on the growth of algae Picochlorum oklahomense. In order to conduct this experiment, we made four photobioreactors including controls and different experimental groups with 40 microliters NaNO3 or 80 microliters NaNO3 and placed them by a window for one week. Using a hemocytometer, we counted the cells on day 1 and day 8 to measure the growth of the algae. We hypothesized that an increase in the amount of nitrogen would result in an increase in algal growth due to the importance of nitrogen in photosynthesis. Our results supported our hypothesis, influencing the conclusion that a greater presence of nitrogen stimulates growth in P. oklahomense.

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