Nanoscience and Microsystems ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-2019


The overall objective addressed in this research was to gain a better understanding of how native mixed cultures of phototrophic microorganisms from a saline system may be used for biodiesel production. Laboratory batch reactors were grown under variable temperatures and nitrogen concentrations with original inoculum from a hypersaline pond in central New Mexico. Growth at 40 C° led to lower lipid production, lower nitrate consumption, and less diverse communities than growth at 20° C. All communities were dominated by the cyanobacteria Plectonema except the in second experiment, where they were only 30% of the culture. In a second experiment with variable initial concentrations, a high nitrate medium (179 mg N/L) led to significantly higher growth rates than a low nitrate medium (75 mg N/L) even before nitrate was depleted in the low nitrate reactors. Lipid production was similar under both conditions. A final experiment determined that optimal mixed community storage conditions were determined to be -196 deg C in 5% DMSO. This research helped to identify conditions for biodiesel production in saline media, which could improved its viability in full scale systems.


Algal biodfuels, biodiesel

Document Type




Degree Name

Nanoscience and Microsystems

Level of Degree


Department Name

Nanoscience and Microsystems

First Committee Member (Chair)

Andrew Schuler

Second Committee Member

Kerry Howe

Third Committee Member

David Hanson

Fourth Committee Member

Abhaya Datye

Available for download on Tuesday, December 14, 2021