Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

individual

Poster Session

Authors' Class Standing

Collin Topolski, Senior

Lead Presenter's Name

Collin Topolski

Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Hugo Castillo

Abstract

The intended research is to develop a long-term culturing technique for growing Arthrospira Platensis, a cyanobacteria that is commercially referred to as Spirulina. The chosen cyanobacteria is known as a superfood due to having high concentrations of varying nutritional values. Additional benefits of Arthrospira are that samples have been found to survive well in microgravity, can be consumed with zero processing, and removes CO2 from the atmosphere. These characteristics enable this microorganism to be an excellent candidate for use in space travel within an advanced life support system (ALSS).

Experimentation for this project will consist of two main components; one being, to try to maintain a parent culture of Arthrospira with as little maintenance as possible. The other component would be to begin growing the Arthrospira in flasks to grow subcultures for experimentation.

Ideally, only a small volume of the original strain is managed to reduce the resources required for maintenance and reduce the likeliness of contamination. Experimentation for this project will consist of two main components; one being, to try to maintain a parent culture of Arthrospira with as little maintenance as possible. The other component would be to begin growing the Arthrospira in flasks to grow subcultures for experimentation. The storage environments for maintaining a small parent culture will consist of placing samples in an ultracold freezer, at -80°C, an average refrigeration environment of ~2°C, and in room temperature with low light conditions. These environments reduce cellular activity and growth rates dramatically while still allowing the survival of the strain.

Future work on Arthrospira will be conducted to examine growth rates under varying temperatures and light conditions, to observe chlorophyll and protein concentrations through fluorescence spectroscopy, and even exposing the cyanobacteria to radiation as well as a vacuum environment.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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Evaluating Culturing Techniques of Arthrospira Platensis for Long-Term Usage

The intended research is to develop a long-term culturing technique for growing Arthrospira Platensis, a cyanobacteria that is commercially referred to as Spirulina. The chosen cyanobacteria is known as a superfood due to having high concentrations of varying nutritional values. Additional benefits of Arthrospira are that samples have been found to survive well in microgravity, can be consumed with zero processing, and removes CO2 from the atmosphere. These characteristics enable this microorganism to be an excellent candidate for use in space travel within an advanced life support system (ALSS).

Experimentation for this project will consist of two main components; one being, to try to maintain a parent culture of Arthrospira with as little maintenance as possible. The other component would be to begin growing the Arthrospira in flasks to grow subcultures for experimentation.

Ideally, only a small volume of the original strain is managed to reduce the resources required for maintenance and reduce the likeliness of contamination. Experimentation for this project will consist of two main components; one being, to try to maintain a parent culture of Arthrospira with as little maintenance as possible. The other component would be to begin growing the Arthrospira in flasks to grow subcultures for experimentation. The storage environments for maintaining a small parent culture will consist of placing samples in an ultracold freezer, at -80°C, an average refrigeration environment of ~2°C, and in room temperature with low light conditions. These environments reduce cellular activity and growth rates dramatically while still allowing the survival of the strain.

Future work on Arthrospira will be conducted to examine growth rates under varying temperatures and light conditions, to observe chlorophyll and protein concentrations through fluorescence spectroscopy, and even exposing the cyanobacteria to radiation as well as a vacuum environment.

 

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