Physical and Biological Sciences Category
Jordan Banker is a senior biology major at Missouri Southern State University. After graduation, she will attend medical school, which influenced her choice to research in microbiology and its applications to human health. Jordan is also a member of the Missouri Southern Honors Program and competes on the track and field team as a pole vaulter.
This experiment studied the disruption of Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms by Pseudomonas aeruginosa supernatant and subsequent changes in antibiotic susceptibility. Biofilms can cause chronic, difficult–to–treat infections, particularly with medically implanted devices. Biofilm characteristics include quorum sensing mechanisms and metabolic changes, and these changes are theorized to increase antibiotic resistance. However, there is limited literature on disrupted S. epidermidis biofilms. S. epidermidis is important because it is ubiquitous on human skin and is easily introduced to the body via surgical incisions. Therefore, if disrupted biofilm cells are more susceptible to antibiotics, more effective treatment can be developed. The experiment occurred in two parts: disruption of the S. epidermidis biofilm and subsequent antibiotic testing. It was expected that S. epidermidis biofilms treated with P. aeruginosa supernatant would see more disruption than S. epidermidis biofilms treated with the control. Then, S. epidermidis biofilms were tested against four antibiotics in a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assay. It was expected that fewer antibiotics would be required to inhibit the growth of the biofilm-disrupted cells compared to biofilm-associated cells. However, this experiment found that P. aeruginosa supernatant failed to disrupt S. epidermidis biofilms. This finding prompts more research before biofilm disruption should be considered for in vivo treatment.