Our world is constantly searching for new energy sources and new mass food supplies due to the constant high demand and so a decrease in their supplies and the answer could be…algae! Algae have the potential to help solve some of these problems. In order to achieve this, however they must be produced at an accelerated rate, and we’re hoping to find out how. We will do this by finding the optimum growth conditions required by the algae and understanding some of their vital growth requirements. This includes the need for a symbiotic relationship with bacteria which may supply Vitamin B12 to the algae. Our experiments will measure the algal growth in different conditions so we can find if algae needs symbiotic conditions to grow fastest.
Essential oils have been known to inhibit bacterial growth so more and more companies are using them in their products as an alternative to ‘harsh chemicals’. We wanted to understand if, with increased usage, bacteria could become resistant to essential oils in a similar way to bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. This was a useful way to understand the threat of antibiotic resistance. Would bacteria evolve resistance, or adapt? These two possibilities may seem identical however if a bacterial cell were to evolve resistance it will forever have that resistance but if a bacterial cell adapts to the exposure of the essential oils, if you were to remove the bacterium from that environment the resistance would be reduced until it was non-existent. So what we are testing is if they adapt or evolve. We are doing this by putting a strain of E. coli in an environment where it can still grow but at a reduced rate because of the essential oils in its environment which may lead to the E. coli evolving or adapting.