Archer’s annual STEM Symposium is an opportunity for Los Angeles high school students who have completed independent or small group projects in STEM to present their findings. Students are invited to present their research in the fields of molecular biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

The Archer RISE Award honors exceptional young women for their innovative scientific research or engineering design projects that further existing knowledge or develop solutions to pressing scientific challenges. Finalists for the RISE Award are noted in throughout the online program and will be awarded at lunch on May 21.

Back To Schedule
Saturday, May 21 • 11:35am - 11:50am
Small But Mighty: How Micro-algae Can Generate New Transportation Fuel

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

When an organism is put under stress, nutrients are diverted from non vital processes and converted to fat to protect the organism. In micro-aglae, this evolutionary trait can be taken advantage of to increase the lipid content to make the micro-algae a more viable and cost-effective biofuel. Spirulina platensis is a species of cyanobacteria whose starvation profile is not well characterized. It has the potential to be a biofuel candidate because of its structure, high pH tolerance, and ability to be genetically engineered to increase lipid content. This experiment will hone in on the growth conditions that best increase the lipid content such as nitrate and phosphate deficiency, which will be tested through optical density measurements and fluorescence microscopy. Based on a review of the literature, it can be hypothesized that as the concentration of the nitrates and phosphates in the media decreases, the lipid concentration in [?]Spirulina platensis will increase after two weeks. The purpose of increasing the lipid content is to attempt to make costs as low as possible for this biofuel to make it competitive with petroleum oil. Since this biofuel is a carbon-neutral source using it nation-wide would decrease carbon dioxide emissions and slow the greenhouse effect. An in-depth characterization of the stress-response profile for Spirulina platensis could lead to new discoveries for Spirulina and its stress response. This characterization is essential as it becomes a better candidate for biofuel, especially since it does not require clean water or arable land like biofuel from crops.


Danielle Fradet

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Grade 12

Saturday May 21, 2016 11:35am - 11:50am PDT
Room 125