Year of Publication

2012

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture; Engineering

Department

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. C. L. Crofcheck

Second Advisor

Dr. S. DeBolt

Abstract

Algae are being considered as a possible tool for carbon dioxide mitigation because they uptake carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Using flue gas from a coal-fired power plant as a carbon source would allow the algae to remove CO2 from the flue gas before it is emitted into the atmosphere. Because algae do not grow well at the high temperature, low pH conditions presented by flue gas, the traditional approach has been to alter the flue gas to suit the needs of the algae; however, this work aimed to genetically modify the algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to grow better at less than optimal conditions. Heat shock proteins are important in the stress responses of many organisms; therefore, this work modified C. reinhardtii to overexpress HSP70A in order to increase the tolerance of C. reinhardtii to higher temperature and lower pH. Experiments yielded mixed results, but there were several instances in which the modified algae appeared to have gained an increased tolerance to decreased pH based on the chlorophyll concentration of the algae.

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