Cyano... just the name excited me. And, the subject of PRODUCTION is a subject that is perfect for agriculture school. And besides all the future possibilities for agriculture that we were working on, the whole experimenting with petri dishes, blue-green algae was fun just in itself. Especially interesting was watching the bacteria and its life cycle. But the bacteria weren't the only new thing, but also the teamwork in the project teams, which was different this year. This year each team consisted of members of the fourth and third classes. This combination created an exciting atmosphere and interesting knowledge exchange between students that wouldn't normally get to work together. And, though we had to break the ice with our new teams at first, by the end of the project we had all really come together well. Also completely new this year was the team work with the “Braunauers”, a school that I have been connected to personally for the last two years. This cooperation made for a little good school rivalry, (all in good fun) as well as new partnerships and friendships. I am super excited that Steffi, Markus, and Manuel were ready and willing to work with us! My opinion is that there are no down sides of this new friendship with a HTL. All and all was my 4th Gentechnic Project in Ursprung very interesting and fun. And, hopefully this work will lead to an Internship over the summer, which would be awesome.
I thought that this project was simply super, because it had such clear practical application. And, I believe that it isn't just the agricultural students here at Urpsrung that will think it is cool. Which samples grew the best? Which fix the most nitrogen? … Crazy how exciting bacteria can be. Even when it was a lot of work, (a hundred photometer measurements... taking the dry mass.... building the shelves, taking them apart, building them again, taking them back down etc...) I would still do it again in a heartbeat. The most exciting is if the nitrogen fertilizers with blue algae can be actually marketable, and whether they can compete with mineral nitrogen fertilizers. And, then we could have changed the world a little bit!
I was set on this idea of nitrogen fixing bacteria from the beginning of the school year. The idea that every farmer could produce their own nitrogen enhanced fertilizer is great. Not too mention that then farmers would no longer be completely dependent on high priced mineral fertilizers. The project was in the beginning tied to a lot of lab work.. And so the whole team learned from the more knowledgeable and experienced 4th years , a lot of new things about cleanliness and sterility, and how to conduct work in a clean room.
The team work with the HTL Braunau was extremely good I thought, because with fully constructed Algae tube reactor, something we could never have done on our own, is the growth and life of the bacteria able to be optimized for our needs. All in all, an extremely cool project that I wouldn't hesitate to do over again.
At the beginning of the school year I was 100% sure that I want wanted to do one of the large gentechnic projects. There were two possible projects, and I chose the cyanobacteria, because I live on a farm, and thus found the project both important and interesting. I didn't really know what I was signing up for. At the beginning there wasn't too much work, but then things really began to heat up in October. I am still impressed how much we managed to do together, and how well our groups came together. It was a super experience. Its amazing to look back and think that we setup this entire project. And, while there was a lot of hard work, now we can look back and see what a amazing experience it was, to work on project with such future potential. The cooperation with the HTL Braunau was also a good idea, while because of their work we have been able push the boundaries of our work.. The experiences we have had in the last four months have been truly valuable to our educational track, because we have done so many different, and practical jobs, in so many different fields. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
From the beginning I was very excited with the idea of cyanobacteria being an alternative to modern fertilizers. And, from this idea we were able to create a super project. It was a lot of work, but we got it all done. At the beginning we had all of the tedious planning, setting up the lab, the measuring systems and taking the measurements, dealing with the problems that arose, and at the end doing the measuring, and much much more. All of that is just a part of these projects. Through these projects I think that one learns not just a bunch of skills but also real world experience that can help someone decide what type of a career is for them. I would not hesitate to do another one of these projects.
Since, the first year of the Genetic-Biotechnic I have felt that there are many ways that one can solve a problem. In this year we began looking for a project that would be both practical and exciting. I signed up for the project of “Collecting Nitrogen from Bacteria”. I am super stoked about this project especially being able to do hands on work with bacteria, and then all of the lab work. actual lab work I was able to do. I was completely amazed at our results of the possibility to collect nitrogen and use it as fertilizer in a agricultural setting. I am still very enthusiastic about this subject and instantly work on such a project again.
When we got the choice of which project to work on, I was completely convinced that this examination of nitrogen fertilizers in agriculture was the one that I wanted to work on. I thought that what was especially good was the team work with the HTL Braunau, because I have never heard of such a multi school project being done before. This teamwork was definitely an advantage in accomplishing the many different tasks. What was the best about this project was that it wasn't just another school project, but rather on actual research
At the beginning of the school year I was immediately excited by the Cyanobacteria and their ability to bind atmospheric nitrogen. In agricultural there is a plant family called Legumes which is used to bring more nitrogen, an important element for plants, into the soil Legumes have a symbiotic relationship with specialized bacteria that can bind nitrogen from the atmosphere. With Cyanobacteria could one create the first nitrogen fertilizer, that would be usably on organic farms. Mineral nitrogen fertilizers are not allowed by the rules of organic farming, however the Cyanobacteria are themselves organic, as would the fertilizer that we would make from them. With this type of fertilizer, a lot of work could be saved, since with such a fertilizer, one would no longer have to plant legumes in with other crops to fix the nitrogen. What I love about this, is the idea that a new fertilizer could be brought onto the market, using never before seen techniques.
Honestly I have to say that without this project I saw the school day as a long boring stretch. But the teamwork, research, and responsibility and creativity really spiced up the school year. I would gladly do it all over again.
I am fascinated with microorganisms, with all their crazy and different abilities. I also like the way that doing one of these projects teaches you not just about the project but also about yourself. What I liked the most was the “breeding” of the bacteria. How we could control how fast they grew, and have instant control over their environments etc.
I was always enthusiastic about this project. Especially the idea that farmers could produce their own fertilizer, was interesting to me as a student of an agricultural school. I also learned a lot about teamwork and working together to reach a specific goal through this project. Despite all the work, and the time commitment huge amount of time and the occasional setback I always found this project interesting and exciting, and I would love to do it again.
The “Revolutionary” idea of using living organisms to fix atmospheric nitrogen without using petroleum products, made the choice of which project to be a part of this year pretty easy. As a agricultural obsessed student I couldn't pass up the chance to contribute something to help protect and improve the environment in Austria. And through the project I was introduced to teamwork, and group work in a way that one never experiences during the regular school experience.
At the beginning of the second year I decided to take the elective class in Genetic-and Biotechnology because I had heard so much about it from the older students. They said that besides being interesting, you would learn a learn a lot, especially a lot of practical things, and they were completely right.
When we started this project I didn't really understand what everyone meant when they talked about “work”. I also didn't really know anything about working in the lab. I remember having to be shown how to measure the bacteria, or other basic tasks. But despite having to learn it all from the ground up,
I still thought the project was exciting and very educational. And, I super enthusiastic about
School projects of this size, mean a lot of work for everyone involved. And, then there was the fact that microorganisms don't grow according to class schedules. This meant that the school vacation could destroy everything when no one was there to look after it. I was very impressed with the speed that the students organized themselves over the new Wiki-System, and how they managed to organize it that the bacteria were observed and measured during the entire Christmas and semester breaks.
And because our surprsing results, the writing of the report was a delight. The students were great to work with, and interacting with them let me experience an excitement and rush of curiosity, that is rare for people of my age. (;-) That our ideas were so quickly applied, with the building of a tube reactor at the HTL Braunau made me very pleased.
I would especially like to the Limnologists Johanna Schmidt and Rainier Kurmayer, for there aid and advice. And Robert Burgholzer for all of his time. Like when we were in the middle of work using the Dumatherm when it broke and he stayed well into the night repairing it for us.
It is an very interesting project, that I really became attached to. And despite having a good idea of the project from the beginning I was still constantly excited. It surprised me how much work had to be done behind the scenes just to do the experiments, and how often we had to start again from scratch because something was broke or setup wrong, or didn't work the way we had planned. I think in the end we had to rebuild the reactor at least five times because something broke or wasn't quite right. Despite all of that I would do it all over again if I could.
I had no idea at the beginning of this year what awaited me, only that there was a project that had something to do with bacteria and fertilizer. After we got to Ursprung and actually had the samples in hand, I began to understand just what Cyanobacteria were. Naturally, it was a ton of work to get the reactor running, but the planning work was enjoyable. It was also completely new to have to coordinate with another team at another school. The scientific exchange functioned very good, when we couldn't do any more, or needed more information we just had to call Ursprung. And, now that they reactor is running and the bacteria happily swimming inside, I truly understand just how cool this project that I signed up for is..
I have to say that I didn't really have a full understanding of the Cyano-Project at the beginning. But as the weeks rolled by I came to appreciate the potential of these bacteria. And, when in the beginning I didn't really get” the bacteria, that all changed when I got to see them under the microscope. I am very proud of the work I was able to contribute to the project, and very excited to see what will happen with all of this in the future.
This study was done in under four months!! I can only say that the students and teachers who worked on this project were completely dedicated to their work. As a scientist I know that the even the best ideas are nothing when there is no passion or motivation for seeing them through to the end, and those traits were definitely in abundance at Ursprung. I remember my own school days and remember that it was from the practically relevant projects that I learned the most. I think that this project was able to live up to the full meaning of the word “school”. In so far that the students, teachers, and scientists we all able to gain from this knowledge exchange and shared experience.