Cooperation 1 - HTL Braunau
We knew that we needed a facility to grow and harvest bacteria in order to test our hypothesis. A type of bio-reactor that could be used, for example, in a stable or a greenhouse. However, we were lacking the technical know-how in this particular area. That is why we came up with the idea to cooperate with the HTL Braunau. We came to know this school and their team “Octopus“ in the course of the Jugend Innovativ competition, where they had been our rivals. We thought that they might have the know-how and technical equipment to plan and build a bio-reactor. We decided to contact the highly committed Prof. Stöckl who showed a lot of interest for our project. He found three interested students who liked our idea and who joined us in the first lectures and preparations for the experiment. We realised quickly that they were the right ones to help us and support the project with a working device. Steffi, Markus and Manuel got our selected cyanobacteria strains and constructed an excellent algae tube-reactor.
Cooperation 2 – Institute for Limnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
Mr Rainer Kurmayer, Johanna Schmidt and Sabine Wanzenböck from the Institute of Limnology Mondsee ,focus their work on continental water economy and already did a lot of research on cyanobacteria. They supplied us with the most important resource for our project: the cyanobacteria. On the basis of Mr Kurmayser's recommendation, we got 11 different strains that were the most promising for our project and and non-toxic. He also gave us some crucial tips on how cultivate the blue-green algae. How do cyanobacteria live? Which temperature and light intensity do they need? How should we start our experiment? What kind of substrate do they need? How can we measure their growth? ...
Mr Kurmayer gave a lecture on cyanobacteria and was always available when questions emerged. Johanna Schmidt, Dr. Kurmayer's assistant, offered to help us as external project assistant. Particularly during the take-off phase, Johanna spent a lot of time in our school laboratory and patiently taught us the basics of algae cultivation and important steps of analysis. She showed us how to create precultures, calculate the fertilisation, or filtrate the bacteria medium in order to measure its dry-mass. When she was not at our school, she checked our work and documentation online, in our GBT-Wiki, and gave a
lot of advice to prevent mistakes and optimize our bacteria culture. Like this, she could observe unusual developments in growth rates from home. Sabine Wanzenböck, also part of this institute, accompanied Johanna and Rainer when they were at our school and documented our work. She was responsible for many photos and press work.
Cooperation 3 – University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Faculty of Bio and Environmental Technology
The measuring of the nitrogen concentration in the blue-green algae was a crucial aspect of our work. However, due to the great amounts of samples we could not have managed to do this in our school laboratory. This is why we looked for another partner and could finally win from the Faculty of Bio and Environmental Technology support for our project. DI Robert Burgholzer agreed to carry out the nitrogen measurements with a special apparatus called Dumatherm. Our part of job was to transport the frozen samples from the different test series to Wels. Then the nitrogen analysis was carried out, fully automated and precisely. The analyses were more complex than anticipated and Mr Burgholzer spent many hours with calibrating the measuring apparatus.
Cooperation 4 – Chamber of Agriculture of Vienna/ Chamber of Agriculture of Lower Austria
We excited DI Gregor Hoffmann, who also thought that it might be feasible to build a larger test facility to find out, whether cyanobacteria could be used for the numerous green houses in Vienna. He supplied us with fertilisation tables, explained the highly complex methodology of vegetable production, and also gave a lot of advice. Maybe we will find a way to enter into the next testing phase.