Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Gabriel Perron

Project Advisor 2

Swapan Jain

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Antibiotic resistance is currently one of the greatest threats to human health. The global overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and in agriculture has created what is now known as the antibiotic resistance crisis. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them, and, as a result, antibiotics are no longer effective at killing harmful bacteria. Food safety and accessibility is key to achieving a sustainable food future where everything that is produced is consumed or reused in some way. The carrot, Daucus carota, is a root vegetable and is important to study because root vegetables act as a link between the soil and food microbiomes. To investigate how food preservation techniques affect the accessibility to safe food, free of pathogens as well as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, we stored chopped carrots in mason jars at varying temperatures and inoculated each jar with Escherichia coli (E. coli) to test how pathogen abundance changes with different temperatures. We also investigated how fermentation and addition of spices can affect the microbial communities within each jar. Chopped carrots were fermented in 2% salt brine, fermented with turmeric (Curcuma longa), ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe), and garlic (Allium sativum) to test not only if the fermentation technique affects food safety, but also to determine if the presence of spice plays a role. In addition we tested the abundance of class 1 integrons (IntI1), which is a gene used as an indicator of antibiotic pollution. We found that the microbial composition in fermented samples were similar to one another, suggesting that fermentation selects for specific microbial communities over time. Temperature showed a significant effect on the average abundance of IntI1, with 7°C showing the lowest overall abundance in both non-E.coli and E. coli inoculated samples. Spices showed no significant effect on IntI1 abundance, however turmeric samples inoculated with E. coli had lower IntI1 abundance compared to the other spice treatments.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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