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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!