Honors Theses


Justin Biffinger, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


The design of coating formulations that have material properties that can hinder the biodegradation of a protective surface without aggressive or environmentally harmful additives will require a detailed understanding of knowledge gaps at the biotic-abiotic interface involving a variety of microorganisms. This project focused on two isolates extracted from a biofilm which was found to degrade Air Force cargo aircraft topcoats. These organisms, Bacillus megaterium (gram-negative bacterium, non-hydrolytic but alkane oxidizing) and the hydrolytic yeast Papiliotrema laurentii were initially observed as individual cultures and then as a co-culture. The combination of these two organisms (under similar growth conditions) provided a glimpse into more complex biofilm dynamics and the synergies these organisms maintain during the degradation of polyester polyurethane and the more recalcitrant polyether polyurethane topcoat, AS P-108.

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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