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Basic questions about algae


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#1 HomeBrew

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 06:24 AM

Hi all --

I'm looking for some very basic information about algae, about which I know nothing -- I'm trying to help my son (age 14) design a science fair experiment. He wants to do something with algae, e.g. see what effect different culture conditions (lighting, temperature, pH) have on growth rate.

First, what is a good genus/species of algae to use? I assume freshwater species are easier to deal with than saltwater species? Maybe he could use a couple (one green, one red, for example).

Second, what is a good general-purpose (liquid) media for use in growing such species? A recipe would be appreciated, one that is hopefully not too exotic...

Third, what's a good way to measure growth rate in such a culture? Accumulation of dissolved oxygen? Biomass measurements? Are there somewhat simple (science fair level) ways of measuring such things over time with a reasonable degree of accuracy?

Finally, how rapidly does algae grow? I'm used to bacterial cultures, where changes are apparent over a matter of hours. Do algal cultures produce measurable changes over a similar time period, or is it only apparent over a matter of days or weeks?

Any ideas or discussion greatly appreciated...

#2 bob1

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 04:03 PM

I've only cultures algae once, nearly 10 years ago, and all I recall is having to make several solutions and then take small amounts of each and put it into another solution... not much help really.

I did find this website though, it should be some help...

http://hydrodictyon....gy_of_the_Algae

Also check out the links at the bottom of this wikipedia page...

http://en.wikipedia....rient_solutions

#3 HomeBrew

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:12 PM

Thanks, bob1 -- I appreciate the links. I've found a lot of media recipes on the web, but I guess I have to determine what genus/species would be best before I can figure out the appropriate media.

Any algae researchers here at the BioForum?

#4 toejam

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 07:15 AM

hi hb,

just read this paper recently and i think you might find some of the references useful. i believe the main focus is on spirulina.

best wishes.

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