Start Date

4-12-2019 11:15 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 12:15 PM

Abstract

Algae have grown in popularity as a source for biofuels as some algae species, like Ochromonas danica, can produce energy-rich lipids for biofuels while simultaneously removing nutrients from wastewater. As such, use of biologic systems to mitigate pollutants are an attractive method of pollution control. Given the unique metabolic properties of O. danica, this organism is a promising candidate organism for this purpose. This study seeks to characterize the basic metabolic parameters of these algae as well as their population behaviors with attention to their growth rates and nitrate removal at varying pH over time. To do this, live cultures of O. danica were introduced to a standard simple defined organic medium and measurements of population, floc number and size, and nitrate concentration were obtained at several time points over a period of 7 days. The primary outcomes of interest were the population growth rate and relative rate of nitrate removal. The population increased at an average rate of 10.6 (95% CI 9.6-10.8) million algae per mL per day with an average rate of nitrate removal of 0.234 ug / million algae. Although these data are exploratory in nature, they show rapid population growth and nitrate removal in a defined medium by O. danica in a closed system. Further work will need to be performed to discern the optimal growth conditions for this strain and the efficacy of pH induced flocculation to improve harvesting methods.

Faculty / Staff Sponsor

Dr. Timothy Gsell

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Apr 12th, 11:15 AM Apr 12th, 12:15 PM

Nitrate removal and patterns of pH-induced flocculation in high-lipid producing algae Ochromonas danica

Algae have grown in popularity as a source for biofuels as some algae species, like Ochromonas danica, can produce energy-rich lipids for biofuels while simultaneously removing nutrients from wastewater. As such, use of biologic systems to mitigate pollutants are an attractive method of pollution control. Given the unique metabolic properties of O. danica, this organism is a promising candidate organism for this purpose. This study seeks to characterize the basic metabolic parameters of these algae as well as their population behaviors with attention to their growth rates and nitrate removal at varying pH over time. To do this, live cultures of O. danica were introduced to a standard simple defined organic medium and measurements of population, floc number and size, and nitrate concentration were obtained at several time points over a period of 7 days. The primary outcomes of interest were the population growth rate and relative rate of nitrate removal. The population increased at an average rate of 10.6 (95% CI 9.6-10.8) million algae per mL per day with an average rate of nitrate removal of 0.234 ug / million algae. Although these data are exploratory in nature, they show rapid population growth and nitrate removal in a defined medium by O. danica in a closed system. Further work will need to be performed to discern the optimal growth conditions for this strain and the efficacy of pH induced flocculation to improve harvesting methods.