C.J. Roger Moellering



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Over the past few decades, bacteria have become resistant to multiple antibiotics due to humans misusing and overusing antibiotics. Over-expression of bacterial efflux pumps has been identified as a key player in bacterial drug resistance. Over-expression of these pumps essentially allows bacteria to transport antibiotics from their intracellular space to their extracellular space before the antibiotics can effectively act on the organisms. To combat multiple drug resistance in bacteria, this research aimed to find natural, plant-derived inhibitors of an efflux pump in E. coli called the AcrAB-TolC pump. Cinnamon, cranberry, pumpkin seeds, thyme, black tea, and oolong tea were chosen for testing for inhibition of this pump. These items were ground, dried, and put in an extractor to isolate polar compounds which were eventually introduced into a bacterial fluorescence assay. Ultimately, the oolong tea was the only extract tested that led to a positive fluorescence reading, reflecting potential inhibition of the AcrAB-TolC pump. Isolation and purification of the active compound within oolong tea still an ongoing area of investigation.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Matthew E. Lopper

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Efflux Pump Inhibition in Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria