Honors Theses


Justin Biffinger



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Honors Thesis


Shewanella woodyi is a bioluminescent marine organism that is known to be metal tolerant and modulate the intensity of its luminescence with electrochemical potential. The viability of S. woodyi as a bioreporter for the toxic heavy metal zinc, copper, and silver was analyzed. Biofilms of S. woodyi was grown on marine broth agar plates and then exposed to various concentrations of each metal ion to evaluate biofilm response to the metal ions that were generated from an operating short circuited electrode containing either Zn, Cu, or Ag metal. The ability of the bacteria to tolerate the heavy metals and continue to luminesce was evaluated at designated distances from the electrode by ICP-OES. The possibility of an electricidal effect was determined to be insignificant near the electrodes. So, even though S. woodyi showed unprecedented tolerance for Zn(II), it would ultimately be a marginal living bioreporter without genetic modification.

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Undergraduate research