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Microbial resistance to pharmaceutical antibiotics is a growing problem in healthcare and animal husbandry that has led to hundreds of deaths from bacterial infections that could once be cured with antibiotics. Scientists are currently studying these resistance mechanisms and formulating novel treatments for bacterial infections, but exhaustive research of the antimicrobial properties of many common plants has yet to be established. In this study, I tested five traditionally medicinal plants common to the Dayton area including wild hydrangea, black haw, dandelion, mayapple (roots), and red clover for antimicrobial action against several strains of the human pathogens Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli, using disk diffusion assays in aerobic and anaerobic environments. Each extract had antimicrobial activity against at least most of the pathogens tested, but each pathogen reacted variably to each extract, though antimicrobial activity in both oxygen environments were comparable. This suggests that there may be active compounds in plants with antimicrobial properties, in which case said compounds should be isolated and tested further in order to better understand bacterial defense mechanisms in plants, and what, if any, benefit these antimicrobial properties could have for humans with bacterial infections.

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Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Yvonne Y Sun

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium poster


Presenter: Emilee Kay Zoog

Microbial Resistance to Traditionally Medicinal Plant Extracts