Algae Corner: "What Is It?" - Botryococcus, A Fascinating Film!

Welcome back to the Algae Corner! On this "What Is It" episode, we're talking about the fascinating film called Botryococcus.

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Floating “Green Algae”

Botryococcus is actually a green algae, but it produces high amounts of lipids or unsaturated poly hydrocarbons. These are documented to be up to 60% of the algae biomass. These lipids are inside the cell, but they're excreted to the cell surface. They hold the colonies of cells together, and the lipids are less dense than water.

That’s why you'll often see this film or scum on the surface, hence the name “fascinating film.”

A Variety of Colors

I've seen Botryococcus in all sorts of different colors, from orange, to brown, and even blood red films.

Here are some examples of these films, in addition to what they look like under the microscope. In my opinion, they’re absolutely beautiful! Look at those radiant colors.

Beneficial & Useful

Botryococcus has been targeted for biofuel production and biomass production due to its high lipid content, but it can be tricky to grow sometimes.

It’s often part of the historic oil and shale deposits that we mine as well, from historic blooms of Botryococcus.

Don't get Botryococcus (right) confused with the nasty toxic cyanobacteria scums out there (left), though. It can be a bit unsightly, but it's actually a pretty cool and beneficial algae for a system.

Out of control? We can help!

Botryococcus can still be a nuisance, and we can certainly help you clean it up if it gets out of control. Get in touch with us and we’ll point you to the right solution. Thank you very much for tuning into this episode about the fascinating film Botryococcus, and we'll catch you next time!