With the threat of bioterrorism in modern day society, the search for new disaster prevention is at an all time high. After the events of September 11, 2001, the United States was plagued with numerous threats from a small bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. Bacillus anthracis, or anthrax, is a sporulating bacterium which has devastating effects on those who ingest the spore. There are three types of anthrax infections. The first, cutaneous, is the least violent. The remaining two types of infections, inhalation and gastrointestinal are both commonly associated with severe pain and eventual death (Pearson et al 2004).
The spore capsule of the Bacillus species is responsible for the fatal effects on its host. Sporulation is a process which occurs when a sporulating bacteria is exposed to nutritionally inadequate environments. The process minimizes metabolic activity and encloses the bacterium’s genetic information into a capsule known as an endospore. Inside the capsule is all of the genetic information needed for survival as well as proteins known as sigma factors which are used to activate RNA expression. Upon entering the body of a host, the endospore feeds off the nutrition intake of the host and through the process of proliferation, the endospore returns the bacterium to its thriving state (Liu et al 2003).
Due to the toxicity and safety hazards associated with Bacillus anthracis, we have used an appropriate model species, Bacillus thuringiensis. Both of the species are sporulating bacteria and contain very similar genetic coding. Bacillus thuringiensis is often used as a model species for B. anthracis due to its lack of severe toxicity. B. thuringiensis is a known pesticide that is used to control insect infestation, but has no significant effect on humans or other animals (Radnedge et al 2002).
Gonium pectorale is a green algae species found in water with a low salt content. It is a member of the volvocales, which is a family of algae that colonize in groups of 4-8 organisms (Stein 1965). Volvocales are known for producing growth inhibiting proteins to endure their own survival (Harris 1970). Since the Gonium genus produces a known growth inhibitor, we chose a species that was readily available and easy to keep in culture. The species of choice was Gonium pectorale. The bacterial species were exposed to treatment from the algae to test for antibacterial properties. The treatment occurred by the method of saturated paper disk. The results were determined by measuring the zones of inhibition around the paper disks.
Materials and Methods:
The testing began by growing Gonium pectorale in a 10% concentrated Hoagland solution culture (Bugbee 2003) autoclaved for sterility. The algae were grown at 75°F with a 12 hour light cycle each day. While in culture, the 125 ml Erlenmeyer flasks containing the algae culture were placed on a shaker plate to ensure air was reaching the cultures. The shaker plate caused the culture to be mixed continually...