Science: Algae for Oxygen

Enclosed though he was in 9-ft. by 5-ft. tank, Biologist Joe D. McClure was not alone: connected with him by pipes were several billion or trillion single-celled algae (Chlorella). Looking like grass-green soup, the algae were housed in tall columns faced with transparent plastic and brilliantly lit by a bank of fluorescent lamps. Parades of bubbles climbed up the columns—and it was those bubbles, enriched with oxygen by the algae, that McClure last week breathed for 26 hours before emerging hale and hearty.

Like Wet Hay. McClure's bubble-breathing experience was part of an...

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