Date of Submission

Fall 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Brooke Jude

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Modern customs rely on antibiotics heavily for the clinical treatment of bacterial infections and for the maintenance of agricultural stock. As a result, trace concentrations of antibiotics are prevalent in a variety of venues where bacteria, humans, and other organisms intermingle. Recent studies have indicated that sub-lethal concentrations of antibiotics may have enhancing effects on the bacterial resiliency and pathogenicity. Two important mechanisms utilized in bacterial defense and colonization, biofilm production and swarming motility, have been observed to increase when exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of several varieties of antibiotic in the ubiquitous soil bacterium and opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeuruginosa. In this study, biofilm production and swarming motility in the presence of sub-lethal concentrations of the antibiotic chloramphenicol are examined for additional member of the Pseudomonas genus, Pseudomonas putida, a ubiquitous bacterium that occupies many soil and water habitats. The results of this study represent the first observation of biofilm production and swarming motility enhancement by the antibiotic chloramphenicol, and provide evidence that additional members of the Pseudomonas genus, aside from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, may be susceptible to increased biofilm production and swarming motility in the presence of sub-lethal concentrations of antibiotics. Together, these findings have substantial implications for antibiotic use in both clinical and environmental settings, and for the ways in which bacterial defense may be evaluated in the context of bacterial exposure to antibiotics.

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