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Nathan Guymon, Junior and SWBEC member awarded URCO project for 2017-2018

Picture of Nathan Guymon
Nathan Guymon

Nathan Guymon, a junior in the Biological Engineering department's Undergradaute program and member of SWBEC has been awarded an URCO grant by the USU Office of Research and Graduate Studies for the reseach he and his faculty mentor Dr. Ron Sims are working on titled the Effects of Photoperiods on the Performance of an Algal Biofilm Reactor for Wastewater Remeditation & Biomass Producst

The Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunity (URCO) award provides a one semester, $1,000 scholarship, to support original research, scholarship, or creative work by USU undergraduates with the guidance of a faculty member. Proposals may also include requests for additional funds to cover the costs of equipment, supplies, and project-related travel.

Nathan's Abstract

Little information is currently available about the effect of varying photoperiods on microalgae biofilm formation and growth used for the treatment of industrial and municipal wastewater and the generation of biomass as feedstock for the production of value bioproducts.The Rotating Algal Biofilm Reactor (RABR), developed at USU, operates as a semi-submerged bioreactor with a substrate on which an algal biofilm culture develops. The objective of this project is first to design and build rotating algal biofilm reactors (RABRs) at a bench scale inoculated with a mixed culture of algae and cyanobacteria sourced from municipal wastewater treatment plants. These will then be used to investigate the effect of photoperiods on biomass yield, productivity, and resultant wastewater treatment in a controlled environment. The microalgae and cyanobacteria species will also be identified to find those that thrive and grow in biofilms formed on RABRs under different photoperiods. The results obtained from the experiment will aid in the future design of RABRs that experience different photoperiods due to seasonal changes throughout the year.