The title of the project I am assisting Dr. Jaimelee Iolani Rizzo with is “Synthesis and Investigation of a novel Antimicrobial surface based on Agar.” This project aims to examine the possibilities of naturally occurring oils as antimicrobial agents when applied to an agar-based surface. Our goal with this study is to design an antimicrobial agar surface solely containing natural materials. As the risk of contamination due to microbial agents is ever present, synthesizing a naturally derived antimicrobial surface would prove to be widely useful in many settings. Creation of a surface containing these properties could be highly effective in the medical, and even more so, surgical setting at reducing the risk of microbial contamination. The introduction of antimicrobial surface to surgical equipment used on the body has potential to heavily reduce the amount of contamination from both inside and outside of the body.
I will be contributing to the project by performing the laboratory work, this includes preparation of samples in addition to keeping a written record of all trials. To test our hypothesis a nutrient agar sample is prepared from scratch by combining tryptone, yeast extract, sodium chloride, and agar. Three samples of oil: 500 microliters, 750 microliters, and 1 milliliter, are then taken to combine with the agar to pour out onto petri dishes. Each trial consists of four petri dishes, one for each volume of oil, and a blank containing no oil. Once these samples have solidified, they are then four way streaked with Staphylococcus aureus, a gram-positive bacterium, and allowed growth in incubation for 24 hours. The samples are then examined to determine if the oil was effective at reducing microbial presence, and if so, which quantity was most effective. All samples are recorded photographically and kept with the written record of trials.