Algae and Virus Hunting in High pH High Alkaline Environments

Michael Angyus (1), Calvin Cicha (1), Robin Gerlach (2), and Blake Wiedenheft (1) 1. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Montana State University, Bozeman MT 59717 2. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman MT 59717

The use of algae as a feedstock for biofuel is primarily limited by low CO2 availability and culture contamination. To overcome these limitations, previous research has designed high alkaline and pH systems which have increased CO2 flux into the algal culture and limited culture contamination. To improve these systems, we are isolating algae that are naturally adapted to high pH and high alkaline environments as well as isolating viruses that infect these algae to identify how algae defend against parasites. We hypothesize that Soap Lake, Washington (pH 10) harbors algae capable of high growth rates and high lipid content under these conditions as well as novel algal viruses. To test this hypothesis, we ran water from Soap Lake through a series of filters to obtain an algal fraction and a virus fraction. Algal fractions were grown in liquid cultures and then diluted on solid agar to isolate individual colonies of algae. Virus fractions were screened for viruses that infect Soap Lake Isolate number 4 (SLA-04) using standard plaque assays. 13 unialgal colonies of green microalgae have been isolated to date and no viruses that infect SLA-04 have been detected in the virus fractions. The isolated colonies will be analyzed for growth rates and lipid content to assess fitness for biofuel production and plaque assays will be run to search for viruses that infect the new isolates.


Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Michael Angyus

Institution: Montana State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Environmental Science & Sustainability

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 6
Date/Time: Tue 2:00pm-3:00pm
Session Number: 4651