It’s not easy being green

How do you change the medium in a culture without throwing out the bacteria? Andrew needs to accomplish this for his bioreactor, and has come up with a solution.

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Here’s the original culture of cyanobacteria. Commonly called blue-green algae, these organisms are major primary producers in freshwater, and they have a bit of a bad reputation. When cyanobacteria grow out of control in a lake, this results in the blooms that may close a beach or drinking water system. However, cyanobacteria are also important in biotechnology – their ability to degrade compounds using only oxygen and sunlight makes them attractive candidates for biological wastewater treatment – and only a few types of cyanobacteria can produce toxins.

CAM00480Andrew separates the cyanobacteria from the liquid using a column filled with beads. He then backwashes the column with fresh media, and the cyanobacteria can go back into their bioreactor.

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