Examining the Relationship between Cell Volume and Cell Biomass in Freshwater Green Algae

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Andrew Park, University of Maryland, Rockville, MD
The use of fossil fuels has long since been marked as a detrimental energy source. It is known to increase green house gases (GHGs) and cause global warming. The world is in dire need of a renewable and safe source of energy. One of the leading renewable resources today is biofuels, which can be retrieved from the biomass extracted from different microorganisms, such as green algae. Despite the relevance of biofuels today, research is lacking in algal physiology. Understanding patterns in algal biomass will be beneficial in understanding the role of green algae in global warming and its effectiveness as biofuel. The main goal of this research is therefore, to determine the relationship between biovolume and biomass in green algae and see if this relationship can be exploited to make accurate biomass estimations in wild samples. In order to view only the relationship between biovolume and biomass, the cell count was equalized through cell count measurements using a coulter counter. The biovolume was then calculated using geometric modeling of the cells. Biomass was determined through dry weight measurements after careful sample dehydration. According to older literature, it is proposed that biomass of microorganisms is positively correlated to biovolume, and it was hypothesized that green algae will show similar patterns. Preliminary results confirm the hypothesis that there is a direct relationship between biomass and biovolume.