Advertisement

Youth Advances in Scientist Program

September 16, 2004

Austin Fullmer, a ninth grader from Flintridge Preparatory School, advances to the semifinals of the Discovery Channels 2004 search for the nations top young scientists.

He was selected out of a pool of 75,000 science fair participants.

"These students exhibited an excellent maturity that is truly remarkable," said Steve Jacobs, DCTSC head judge. Fullmer's project was "Can blue-green algae be used as a substitute for a hydroponics (growing plants without soil) solution, which can sustain plant growth?" He grew several different cultures of blue-green algae's and set up a hydroponics (soil-less plant growing system) experiment to scientifically compare the average growth rates of plant seedling in the different blue-green algae's solutions, both living and dead. He simultaneously ran the experiment against Bacteria Bio-solutions, Aquaponics and professional hydroponics solutions. Austin's experiment showed that most living blue-green algae's that he used performed better than the professional solutions. The blue-green algae gloeocapsa plants grew on an average 20 percent taller and 32 percent heavier that the hydroponics solution. Fullmer said the research is significant when you consider that this simple 3.5 billion year old prokaryote, which carries out photosynthesis, can be one of the keys to supporting life on Mars. Yes, bluegreen Algae may be used to generate oxygen, hydroponics solutions, food, essential vitamins, proteins, break down human waste, and be a source of fuel on Mars. He thinks it's ironic, because he has a theory that blue-green algae originally came from Mars, possibly the result of huge meteor forcing water off the planet. (The surface of Mars appears that water erosion once took place.) Could blue-green have survived the trip? It may have happened, and it introduction was just what earths needed to start a new biosphere. It has DNA, essential amino acids, vitamins, nutrients, simple cell structure, a quick enough turnover of population, for genetic transformation due to natural selection, and it creates about a pound of oxygen for every pound of new cell growth.

Advertisement
La Canada Valley Sun Articles La Canada Valley Sun Articles
|
|
|