Blog #2: Progress with creating new anti-microbial surfaces from agar and natural butters

This fall semester I have been working with my faculty mentor Dr. Jaimelee Rizzo to create new anti-microbial surfaces with agar, natural butters, essential oils and plant powders. So far I have made samples with a only one essential oil or one plant powder or a combination of one essential oil with one plant powder. I first make samples with only the essential oil or one plant powder to determine the best essential oils and plant powders for anti-microbial properties and ultraviolet light protection on their own. From there I use the essential oils and plant powders with the best results and combine them in a sample with natural butter or agar to optimize the anti-microbial and ultraviolet light protection properties.

Now I am waiting for more results to come in, so I can further my research and possibly combine different essential oils and different plant powders together to maximize the anti-microbial and ultraviolet light protection properties. I have worked with Dr. Rizzo to determine what concentrations of essential oil and plant powders I should be using in my samples and also new essential oils and plant powders that can be used. Some questions that I want to investigate are: “What specific properties of the essential oil or plant powder contribute to the anti-microbial and ultraviolet light protection properties?” and “When the essential oils and plant powders are combined are there certain reactions they undergo that optimize the anti-microbial and ultraviolet light protection properties?”. I am working more to be able to answer these questions.

In addition, Dr. Rizzo and I have submitted an abstract for this project for the 257th American Chemical Society Spring Meeting. This meeting will be held in April 2019 and there I will be able to present my research to other scientists. I am very excited to present my research at this meeting this spring.

UGR Blog #1: Use of Agar and Natural Butters as Antibacterial Surfaces

The title of my research project is Use of agar and natural butters as antibacterial surfaces. The purpose of this project is to synthesize new surfaces from agar, natural butters, plant powders and essential oils that are resistant to bacteria. The bacteria we are testing against are Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The goals of this project are to create antimicrobial surfaces that are also non-hazardous to humans. I hope to learn what essential oils and plant powders have antimicrobial effects against S. aureus, E. coli, and P. aeruginosa, in order to provide a solution to minimize the amount of bacterial infections in humans.

The methods I will be using to perform my research are the infusion of agar plates with different combinations of essential oils and natural plant powders in order to maximize the antimicrobial effect of the surface. The same will be applied to the natural butters. The samples with a base of natural butters will also undergo ultraviolet light testing, in order to see what the potential benefits are for protection from ultraviolet light. Some essential oils to be used are: Cinnamon Cassia, Black Cumin Seed, Ginger, Grape Seed, and Rosehip. Some of the plant powders to be used are Chlorella and Ginseng. These powders and oils will be infused into agar as well as natural butters such as, Coffee Butter and Murumuru Butter. I am looking forward to carrying out this research over the academic year.