Extraction of Antibacterial Compounds Produced by Pseudomonas and Serratia Species, and Induction of Antibiotic Production by Bacterial Competition

Kayla Blair


New avenues for antibiotic drug discovery are in demand due to increasing emergence of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens. Even as multidrug resistant bacteria become an increasing threat to global health, the discovery of new antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action has slowed over the last 20 years. The use of mixed cultures of bacteria is a relatively new method shown to induce the production of cryptic antibacterial natural products, many of which may represent novel compounds that can be isolated for further research. Here, we explore how co-culturing of diverse natural bacteria may influence expression of secondary metabolite antibiotics unseen under standard laboratory conditions. Using a high throughput assay against Staphylococcus aureus, pure bacterial cultures isolated from pitcher plants in western North Carolina were evaluated for their ability to produce antibiotic compounds independently or in co-culture with other species. Antibiotic producers, including Pseudomonas and Serratia species, have been isolated and identified and active fractions have been extracted and purified via preparative thin layer chromatography. Co-culture screening has identified a number of bacterial pairs with enhanced antibiotic activity, yet none with solely co-culture induced antibiotic production. 1H and 13C NMR, IR, and mass spectrometry data is discussed as characterization of the antibacterial compounds is ongoing.


Co-culture, Natural Product, Extraction

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