Growth Rates of Selected Pacific Northwest Diatoms and the Potential for Biofuel Production
Algae may be an answer to the world’s future oil crisis but a lot of groundwork needs to be done before algae can provide enough oil to keep up with human consumption. Environmental stresses can cause diatoms to produce higher lipid contents and grow at different than normal rates. Three species of Pacific Northwest diatoms were observed in four different nutrient media, including two nutrient-reduced media, and in two different temperatures for highest growth rates. One species of Fragilaria sp. (strain # F084) showed little or no growth, while another species of Fragilaria sp. (strain # F074) grew best when all essential nutrients were present. Skeletonema sp. sp. (strain # F164) grew well in nutrient reduced media (F/2+ 1/2 NaNO3 and F/2+ 1/2 NaNO3) , as well as pink F/2+, and another species of Fragilaria sp. (F074). grew best when all essential nutrients were present. This pilot study is the basis for future experiments into finding which Pacific Northwest diatom may be worthy of algal biofuel candidacy.