Blog Post #3: Updated progress of synthesizing new antibacterial surfaces with natural butters, oils and powders

This semester I am continuing my research project of investigation of synthesis of new antibacterial surfaces using natural substances. I am continuing this project with my faculty mentor Dr. Jaimelee Rizzo. At the end of last semester, I thought of two different questions I would like to address with this research project. The first question was “What specific properties of the essential oil or plant powder contribute to the antibacterial and ultraviolet light protection properties of a sample?” and the second question was “When the essential oils and plant powders are combined are there certain reactions they undergo that optimize the antibacterial and ultraviolet light protection properties?”.

Through different literature searches, it was found that coffee butter contains Chlorogenic acid (CGA) which is known for its antibacterial properties. Murumuru butter was found to contain Lauric Acid, which is a fatty acid well know for antibacterial properties. Upon research it was also found that chlorella powder contains chlorellin and ginseng powder contains ginsenoside which have both been studied for their antibacterial properties.

From the results gathered so far, Cinnamon Cassia oil has shown the largest zone of clearance for antibacterial activity and the best ultraviolet light protection results. We believe this is due to the presence of Cinnamaldehyde in the essential oil. Cinnamaldehyde is known to have antibacterial properties because of the aldehyde functionality present acts as an active site. With the addition of chlorella or ginseng powder antibacterial results have increased, which leads us to believe that there is an interaction occurring that optimizes antibacterial activity.

Moving forward, I am continuing to create more samples to be sent out for testing. I am using different concentrations of the essential oils to determine which have antibacterial properties and which do not. As of now we are looking to classify which oils and powders have these properties. In the future I am looking to combine different oils and powders to optimize the antibacterial and ultraviolet protection results.

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.