Honors Theses


Jayne B. Robinson



Publication Date

Spring 4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Biofilms are slimy substances made up of bacteria that attach to surfaces. Biofilms can be found in humans (lung of Cystic Fibrosis patients), natural settings (rocks in streams) and man-made environments (medical devices, pipelines). Biofilms are also found in aviation fuel tanks, causing physical issues such as clogging in fuel lines and changing the chemical makeup of the fuel via bacterial metabolism. Bacterial viruses, known as bacteriophage, show potential for reducing biofilms through phage therapy. The goal is to find a phage or combination of phage with a broad host range that would be most effective in reducing the biofilms of bacteria isolated from fuel tanks. Known phages UT1, SN-T, and PEV2 were tested against these biofilms, both individually and in combination. They were tested to measure inhibition, in which phage and bacteria were incubated together, and remediation, in which biofilms were allowed to preform before the addition of phage. Biofilms were assayed for biomass (via crystal violet staining) and viable cell count in the presence of phage or combination of phages to determine the amount of biofilm inhibition and remediation. Results suggest that the host ranges of UT1, SN-T, and PEV2 were not as broad as anticipated, inhibition techniques were more effective than remediation techniques, and phage used in combination resulted in greater biofilm reduction than when used singly.

Permission Statement

This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research


Biology | Life Sciences

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