Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Brooke Jude

Abstract/Artist's Statement


One of the major virulence factors of Streptococcus mutans, the primary causative agent of dental caries (cavities), is its ability to convert dietary sugars into the glucan building blocks that make up its biofilm. Three different glycosyltransferase enzymes are responsible for the conversion of dietary sugars into biofilm glucans, and each enzyme has a distinct role in in this process. In order to examine their activity a model is built in which S.mutans biofilm are grown in conditions that closely mimic the oral environment. These biofilms are exposed to varying concentrations of sucrose in an attempt to determine the effect that sucrose exposure frequency and concentrations have on biofilm development. My results suggest that ultimately, biofilm development is determined by the total sucrose dosage, regardless of how that dose is distributed. These results can be use used as a baseline evaluation of S.mutans biofilm in response to variable sucrose exposure, which can be used as reference in further attempts to quantify biofilm growth in response to alternate carbohydrates. Lastly, I have refined a protocol that can be used in order to grow and compare biofilm development on hydroxyapatite surfaces.

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