Paine College Student to Travel to South Africa

Posted by lsuggs | 09/17/2013 06:28 AM

(Augusta, GA) – A rising star at Paine College by the name of Jordan Rutland has been selected for the forthcoming 2014 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows January South Africa Institute.  The junior Biology major of Manassas, Virginia, conducted research with Dr. C.R. Nair, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Physics & Environmental Sciences, in the area algae biofuel.  This project is intended to span a two year period, funded through the United Negro College Fund Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship.

The Paine College Presidential Scholar explained her excitement on her achievement, “When this opportunity of traveling abroad was presented to me, I was very enthused and eager to apply. I am most looking forward to being submerged in a culture other than my own, and I hope to gain insight that will be beneficial to my research”.

Algae, specifically microalgae, represent an exceptionally diverse but highly specialized group of microorganisms adapted to various ecologist habitats.  Inside each algal cell is lipid which can be used to create biofuel.  Lipid production can fluctuate depending on the type of stress (environment), and level of stress the algae are under. Because the different environments influence the amount lipid biosynthesis, they directly affect the amount of fuel that can be made.

 In this study, lipid will be extracted and measured by mass, in order to determine its most suitable environmental state for copious production of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME).

Rutland states, “The results of this experiment will not only serve as a building block for related studies to come, but will help identify algae as the possible fuel of the future”.

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Photo caption: Jordon Rutland, recipient of the UNCF Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows January South Africa Institute.