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Renewable energy science fair project:
How does nutrients affect the cell densities of green algae?

Project Information
Title: How does liquid nutrient affect the cell densities of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (green algae)?
Subject: Renewable Energy
Subcategory: Biology / Biofuel / Environment
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Medium
Awards: 1st Place (Summa Cum Laude), Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($400)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Year: 2013
Materials: Compound microscope, microscope digital camera, imaging software, haemacytometer, micropipette, green algae culture, algae food concentrate, air pump, air stones
Description: Green algae use photosynthesis to make its own food and can be turned into biofuels. Three major problems have been troubled scientists for many years: how to capture CO2, how to harness renewable sources of energy and how to dispose the waste. The two main ingredients in fertilizer are nitrogen and phosphate and these happen to be the nutrients that the algae favour. What is a waste product that contains nitrogen and phosphate? Urine. In farms, the urine from the animals gets soaked into the ground and contaminates our water supply, but what if you could use urine for something else? You could feed this to the algae. In my experiment I will be testing three different culture medium (a standard lab culture medium (control), a water soluble fertilizer, and artificial urine) and I will evaluate in which one will result the highest population of algae.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2013/beso13s
Short Background

Algae Nutrients

Nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) serve as fertilizer for algae, and are generally necessary for growth. Silica and iron, as well as several trace elements, may also be considered important marine nutrients as the lack of one can limit the growth of, or productivity in, a given area. These elements must be dissolved into the water, in bio-available forms, for algae to grow.

Algal nutrient solutions are made up of a mixture of chemical salts and water. Sometimes referred to as "Growth Media", nutrient solutions (along with carbon dioxide and light), provide the materials needed for algae to grow. Nutrient solutions, as opposed to fertilizers, are designed specifically for use in aquatic environments and their composition is much more precise.

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Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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Last updated: June 2013
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