Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Marcia M. Pierce

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Oliver R. Oakley

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Third Advisor

Rebekah L. Waikel

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences


Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become an increasing burden worldwide. A highly resistant species is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a nosocomial pathogen that produces a biofilm that enhances its resistance. This project examined the possibility of using bacteriocin, an internal protective toxin produced by some species of bacteria, as a potential treatment for resistant bacteria. In this study, standard broad spectrum antibiotics were used to treat P. aeruginosa to prevent biofilm formation. The biofilm was then analyzed to determine if the biofilm is inhibited or facilitated by each treatment. Optimal concentrations of antibiotics were determined to be effective at a concentration of 0.07mg/mL for gentamicin, rifampicin, and polymyxin B. These antibiotics were used to test 48 clinical samples obtained in 2006. Out of the 48 isolates, a Pseudomonas strain of unknown origin was resistant to both gentamicin and rifampicin (p<0.001). Extraction of Colicin V from E. coli and Pyocin S2 from P. aeruginosa was unsuccessful. Nanodrop analysis determined that there was minimal protein in each sample (concentrations between 0.196-3.118mg/mL). In the future, bacteriocin extractions should be successfully performed, and analysis of further biofilm assays will determine the overall benefit of the treatment.