Ancient Solutions
Elena Frie
Prince of Wales Secondary
Floor Location : M 106 V

This experiment looks at the efficacy of three genera of Cyanobacteria (Tolypothrix, Gloeotrichia and Cylindrospermum) at reducing carbonic acid levels in aquatic systems. This goal is important as the rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have caused a concomitant increase in carbon dioxide, and its byproduct carbonic acid (H2CO3), levels in aquatic systems. Cyanobacteria were chosen for this experiment as these organisms trace back up to 3.5 billion years, and are believed to have been one of the first organisms capable of photosynthesis. The genera Tolypothrix, Gloeotrichia and Cylindrospermum all come from the most common order of Cyanobacteria known as the Nostocales; non-toxic freshwater forms of Cyanobacteria with filamentous anatomies and large individual cells. During the experimental process, the change in carbonic acid was measured by tracking the pH of each of the cyanobacteria containing freshwater solutions over the duration of 96 hours. The results suggest that Cylindrospermum is most efficient and effective at reducing carbonic acid levels and acidity in aquatic systems, followed by Gloeotrichia and then Tolypothrix. These results reflect the physical anatomy and surface characteristics of the different genera used. The experiment confirms that Cyanobacteria should be the subject of more focused attention in efforts to combat rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.