Assessing the Effect of Propionate and Oxygen on the Antimicrobial Activity of Nisin

Title

Assessing the Effect of Propionate and Oxygen on the Antimicrobial Activity of Nisin

Authors

Presenter(s)

Andrea M Vietti

Files

Description

Listeria monocytogenes is one of many common foodborne pathogens that causes infections that are extremely dangerous to individuals, especially to those with compromised immune systems. From a societal standpoint, treatment can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars per patient thus causing a significant strain on public health. The human body, specifically the gastrointestinal lumen, is equipped with an internal chemical barrier that serves to fight off dangerous pathogens such as Listeria. This chemical barrier is composed of antimicrobial peptides that target invading microbes. Alongside these antimicrobial peptides are fermentation acids such as propionate that are produced by endogenous microbes in the human body. Foodborne pathogens are contracted through contaminated food products and in order to reduce this, public health officials incorporate antimicrobial peptides such as nisin to consumer food products. Research geared towards combating foodborne pathogens typically focuses on aerobic conditions; however, Listeria is exposed to anaerobic conditions due to the anoxic environment in the human gastrointestinal tract. The purpose of this study is to understand Listeria’s susceptibility to the fermentation acid propionate and antimicrobial peptide nisin in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. By treating Listeria to incremental concentrations of both nisin and propionate and exposing the bacteria to both anaerobic and aerobic conditions, Listeria survival can be determined. This research possesses implications for the understanding of combating foodborne pathogens such as Listeria, and research can thus allow public health personnel to reduce the societal burdens of Listeria infection.

Publication Date

4-5-2017

Project Designation

Independent Research - Undergraduate

Primary Advisor

Yvonne Sun

Primary Advisor's Department

Biology

Keywords

Stander Symposium poster

Assessing the Effect of Propionate and Oxygen on the Antimicrobial Activity of Nisin

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