Teaching high school kids about microalgae – University of Copenhagen

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26 February 2015

Teaching high school kids about microalgae

Lipids in Microalgae

Fellow Nodumo Zulu invited high school kids to hear about microalgae and get hand on experience with identifying lipids

Four high shool kids from Europaschule Theodor-Heuss-Gymnasium visited the University of Göttingen on the 28 of January, 2015. Here fellow Nodumo Zulu first gave a presentation to introduce them to microalgae in general and planned a short practical course for them to identify the lipids in Phaeodactylum tricornutum.

Nodumo informs: "Microalgae have wide applications in industries such as the fuel, energy, health and food industries. Amongst the microalgal products are the omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are essential for human health. Since humans cannot produce these fatty acids they obtain them from consuming food products that have high contents of these fatty acids e.g. fish, fish oil etc. Microalgae have been viewed as alternate sources for these essential fatty acids; because they produce them in high amounts."

The students participated in the following lab techniques:

  1. Viewing of microalgal cells under a microscope  
    → to see the two different types of microalgae (green algae and brown algae) that we work with in our lab
  2. Staining of the microalgal cells and viewing under a microscope 
    → to view and quantify lipid droplets in the cells
  3. Extraction of lipids from microalgae and analyzing them by thin layer chromatography (TLC), viewing of the plates
    → to recognize different lipids classes in the samples