Honors Theses


Yvonne Sun, Ph.D., Jeremy Erb, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterial pathogen, is associated with foodborne infections in humans. Listeria encounters short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) during its transit through the intestine but its metabolic responses to SCFAs are not fully understood. To determine how Listeria metabolism is affected by SCFAs, I performed basic microbiology assays, including monitoring optical density, determining acetoin production, and measuring culture pH levels. I also performed preliminary 13C-NMR assays to provide a more in-depth look into carbon metabolism in SCFA-treated Listeria. I found that propionate-supplemented Listeria produced significantly more acetoin compared to no supplemented controls. Because acetoin is a product of central carbon metabolism, my result suggests that Listeria is capable of changing its carbon metabolism in response to propionate. My preliminary 13C-NMR results have not revealed how carbon metabolism is altered by propionate and are under current investigation. Further investigation will provide more knowledge in the metabolic mechanism associated with Listeria responses to SCFAs during intestinal transit.

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