Background to Project: Infusion of Native Oils To Synthesize Antimicrobial Properties

Infusion of Native Oils to Synthesize Antimicrobial Surfaces is the project I will be working on this academic year. To further explain, the meaning behind the project I have provided background information as well as goals and materials to reach for successful results.

The challenge to maintain a sterile environment and protect patients in a clinical setting has grown in the recent years, due to the exposure of microorganisms. The discovery of the antimicrobial surfaces in previous research has shown a minimized growth in microorganisms like: bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc. Challenges still arise in creating surfaces because of the difficulty to industrialize, the non-uniformity throughout the surface, and the activity of the antimicrobial agent being wiped off.

Our work involves the utilization of Agar to incorporate and fuse with plants essentials oils in varying concentrations. Agar is a polymer that is composed of subunits from the sugar, galactose. Agar surfaces are not degraded or eaten by bacteria and also serves as a firmer and stronger surface. Agar, as a gel, is porous and can be used to measure microorganism motility and mobility. The gel’s porosity is directly related to the concentration of agarose in the medium resulting in various levels of effective viscosity. The agar surfaces are infused with some antimicrobial oils such as: Propolis, Neem Seed Oil, Black Elderberry, Yarrow, Tamanu, Rosehip, Ginger, Sage, Argan, Guava Seed, Myrrh, Frankincense, and Neroli, Red Thyme, Lemongrass, just to name a few.

All surfaces are to be tested against the gram positive bacteria strain S. aureus. S. aureus, a gram-positive bacterium is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections in humans. It was designated to be the most important bacteria that caused diseases in humans. Annually, it was estimated that 500,000 patients in the United States were affected by this bacterium in clinical and hospital settings, that even some of the strains weren’t resistant to the antibiotics. Previous studies and research has shown that some of the strains have developed resistance to antibiotics, but some of the strains aren’t killed completely, which only causes the bacterium to multiply, cause the infection, and eventually lead to a more serious condition to be treated.                        

Therefore, the creation of the antimicrobial surfaces can minimize the growth of microorganisms like S. aureus. The surfaces are made from agar, which previously mentioned is known to maintain a firm and strong surface. The creation of having a firm and strong surface is to perhaps aid as a wound dressing or bandage in the medical and military field. The surfaces are encoded with the native plant essential oils, which are all known to have strong antimicrobial effects. The essential oils are added onto each surface in various concentrations, which will then be tested against S. aureus to see if the essential oil properties can inhibit the growth of this organism.

The discovery to acquiring new data since this project started is important because if surfaces that are being made naturally are efficient, they can be considered for wound dressings and the experiment then will change gears to testing how pure the surfaces are and even go further into testing it on humans. The ability to perhaps think that the antimicrobial properties of these essential oils can potentially kill the bacterium, S. aureus, would lead to a huge platform in creating bandages for the military and medical field.