Lucky number 5 was drawn last week and it belonged to… Frederike Stock! Frederike is a Phd student at Ghent University in Belgium and had entered the competition at the European Phycological Congress(EPC6) in London. She will receive one of our newly developed 1ltr PBR units, hopefully in time for Christmas, and we look forward to hearing how her work with it develops in the New Year.
Here is her description of the work she will be undertaking.
“My research focuses on the chemical communication between microalgae – diatoms in my case – and bacteria. It is known that bacteria communicate among themselves via small molecules in order to start expression of certain genes when the population has reached a certain threshold. Diatoms have been found to use structurally very similar molecules to attract mating partners for sexual reproduction. So, given the fact that molecules released by bacteria and diatoms are similar, is it possible that diatoms could eavesdrop on bacterial communication and react accordingly? Especially in biofilms where competition between different organisms is high due to limited resources that could be a great advantage. In plants it has already been found that they are able to “sense” bacteria by their small molecules so I want to find out if that is also the case in marine environments.
The photobioreactor would be a great addition to our lab in general. So far, we only have two fairly big and inconvenient reactors which are not used often for that reason. Research of two of my colleagues focuses on harmful algae blooms and culturing them in a small batch first to ensure optimal growth before moving to the big reactors would facilitate their experiments. For me personally, I will carry out my experiments on benthic model diatoms first but maybe in a later stage of the project I will also test planktonic diatoms for their ability to sense bacterial molecules and then a small reactor would come in handy!” – Frederike Stock, Phd Student, Ghent University
We would like to congratulate Frederike once again and wish her luck with her studies.