Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type




First Reader

Dr. Jim Taylor

Second Reader

Dr. Christin Pruett

Third Reader

Dr. Angela Douglas


Space travel is challenging due to the depletion of resources as missions become lengthier. The cyanobacteria, Arthrosprira platensis, commonly known as Spirulina, has the potential to resolve this problem. In order to determine the effects of light intensity and nutrient availability on oxygen production and cell population growth, experiments were run on Spirulina at different light intensities and different nutrient levels. Spirulina cultures were grown in white light boxes with different light conditions (10 ��mol m-2 s-1 , 18 ��mol m-2 s-1, and a light-dark cycle with 18 hours of 18 ��mol m-2 s-1 per 24 hour period ). Oxygen production and cell population measurements were recorded every 24 hours for 72 hours. Statistical tests were run to determine if any differences were significant. High-intensity light significantly produced 62.6429 cm3 more oxygen than low-intensity light. There was no significant difference in oxygen production between high-intensity light and the light-dark cycle nor was there a significant difference between cell population increase in any of the light intensities. There was no significant difference in the oxygen production or the cell population growth between high and low nutrient groups. There was also no significant statistical interaction between the nutrient levels and light intensity. Results indicate that Spirulina produced more oxygen in 18 ��mol m-2 s-1 light. This indicates that Spirulina could not only be used as a food source, due to its high protein and vitamin content, but also as a way to consume carbon dioxide and produce oxygen due in space due to its photosynthetic nature.



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