FAU High student, Yashwin Adusumilli, wins business grant at Purdue University's Blue Integrated Partners conference

Monday, Jan 29, 2024

Yashwin Adusumilli, a junior at FAU High School, conducted a research project on implementing  Gracilaria tikvahiae seaweed (red seaweed) as a biofilter for nutrient pollution in brackish water environments. Yashwin's project aims to investigate the seaweed's nutrient absorption capacity and potential to mitigate nutrient pollution runoff, particularly in estuarine ecosystems so prevalant in Florida.

Yashwin reproduced an estuary using 300-gallon tanks, Instant Ocean Sea Salt, Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Fertilizer, 3M Glue, and water pumps in order to study the red seaweed. The study revealed that Gracilaria tikvahiae effectively absorbed nutrients, as evidenced by a consistent decrease in nitrogen and phosphorus levels after each addition of fertilizer.

The controlled experiments and systematic monitoring provided valuable insights into the seaweed's adaptive capabilities, demonstrating its potential as a sustainable solution for nutrient pollution. The research showcased the seaweed's robust growth and efficient nutrient uptake, even in fluctuating environmental conditions.

Yashwin presented the project at the BIP Purdue "Caribbean Green Engine for Climate Change and Coastal Resiliency" Business Innovation Competition, where he secured the 1st place grand prize of $10,000. The funds will be used to implement the project further along the coasts of Florida, with potential applications in water treatment, aquaculture, and coastal nutrient management.