The Effects of Potassium Nitrate on Picochlorum oklahomense Growth

William Campbell, torbin metz, grace grunewald


In our experiment we tested the effects of potassium nitrate on the algal species Picochlorum oklahomense. We are performing this experiment to help BIRAQC potentially find a viable way to produce algae efficiently in large quantities. The results of the experiment were fairly inconclusive, meaning they did not support our original hypothesis. Algae grew at a slower rate when potassium nitrate was added to the mixture.  To perform the experiment we created a photobioreacter and placed a mixture of ingredients along with the algae and a ranging amount of potassium nitrate in each bottle. We used 80, 160, and 240 microliters of potassium nitrate in each bottle which we believe may have been too high of a concentration for the volume of water we had. We believe that a smaller increment of potassium nitrate could have led to higher algal productivity, due to the fact that we did not find an optimal amount of potassium nitrate with our range of concentrations.

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