MORE | Spring 2022

Characterizing CO₂ Utilization Rates Across Different Cyanobacteria Strains under Varying Light Intensities by a Novel Mass Balance Approach

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Cyanobacteria and its complex photosynthetic systems have been a prime target for synthetic biologists and their molecular engineering tools for the last couple of decades. However, characterizing meaningful CO2 removal performance has always been a struggle within the field. Measuring these changes in gas concentration within a dynamic system can be accomplished with a simple automated Arduino-powered system. The system employs solenoids in parallel and can be applied for n number of outlet streams, all are connected to one large manifold which feeds to a CO2 concentration probe. The development of such a system allows for high fidelity growth experiments between different strains of cyanobacteria. These experiments provide continuous data collection over the entire life cycle of each individual culture and aim to quantify the differences in total CO­2 fixation between strains and overall growth. Synechococcus sp. PCC 11901 is a relatively new strain of cyanobacteria and is earmarked for its quick doubling time and robust fatty acid production.

Student researcher

Sean Henry Innes

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Fall 2022