***Submissions are accepted 11 December - 15 March by noon each year***
The University of Maryland Libraries and the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research have partnered to showcase and reward undergraduate research projects.
The Library Award for Undergraduate Research aims to promote the value and use of library services and information resources.
Browsing Library Award for Undergraduate Research by Subject "algae"
Harmful algal blooms caused by nitrates and phosphates negatively affect estuarine ecosystems, such as the Chesapeake Bay. These blooms release toxins and block sunlight needed for submerged aquatic vegetation, creating hypoxic areas of the Bay. Artificial wetlands have been utilized to reduce the amount of nitrate pollution. This project will test the Typha latifolia (cattail), Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), and Schoenoplectus validus (soft-stem bulrush) for denitrification potential. In order to amplify the differences between the plants, we will use a carbon-based denitrification factor to be found through testing. We plan to use the ANOVA test in order to determine the significance of our findings. Based on our data, future environmental groups can better choose the species they will plant in artificial wetlands.
Introduction of algal biofuel on an industrial scale will only be possible if production cost can be lowered, either by speeding algal growth, increasing lipid production per cell, or both. Our approach examined the application of phytohormones to algae to reach this goal. Bioinformatics and literature led us to four phytohormones: auxin, brassinolide, trans-zeatin, and trans-zeatin-riboside. These were systematically introduced to algae at a range of concentrations. Auxin, brassinolide, and trans-zeatin-riboside increased algal growth rates at concentrations of 10-8M to 10-12M. A combination of auxin with trans-zeatin-riboside yielded an increased growth rate of 11%, a specific lipid mass increase of 51%, and, most notably, a lipid concentration increase of 33%. We did not find statistical significance (n=8; p>0.05) in the above changes due to biological variance and human error. However, these findings are consistent in each trial. Therefore, we believe that a treatment of auxin at 10-11M and trans-zeatin-riboside at 10-9M yield practical benefits to biodiesel production.