Biology – Biotechnology and Microbiology Major
Physical and Biological Sciences Category
Julianna Determan is a senior at Missouri Southern State University studying biology with a minor in chemistry. Throughout her time at MSSU, she has also been part of the Honors program and cross country and track teams. After graduation in May, Julianna has been accepted into a stem cell and regenerative medicine post-baccalaureate program at Washington University in St. Louis.
The treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa has proven to be difficult due to various virulence factors that make this species naturally resistant to many antibiotics. In addition, the overuse of antibiotics selects for resistance – putting patients in harm’s way. Many different countries have utilized various plants for the treatment of bacterial infections. The utilization of Ipomoea batatas (sweet potatoes) to synthesize silver nanoparticles (AgNP) provides an opportunity to treat Pseudomonas in a novel way, reducing chances for resistance. The literature demonstrated a gap in the ability of AgNP synthesized from sweet potato to be an effective form of treatment against naturally antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas. AgNPs were synthesized from the leaves, skin, and potato of sweet potatoes to determine the highest producing tissue. The AgNPs from each tissue were then be utilized to treat Pseudomonas using the Kirby-Bauer method. These results were analyzed using an ANOVA test as well as Wilcoxon tests against a pre-determined zone of inhibition diameter. The results of the project indicated AgNPs synthesized from high concentration tissues, as well as low concentration leaves and potato, were effective in treating the bacteria, leading to a potentially cost-effective, novel treatment option for Pseudomonas aeruginosa.