BARS 2020, Research


Name: Miguel Amigon, Anna Gomez-Pereira

Mentor: Christine Priano

Abstract: One goal of this research was to isolate and characterize bacteria from a water sample obtained from Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Park, New York. Water samples were collected from the lake and bacteria were isolated by sterile filtration. A variety of tests were performed on selected clones to quantify the density of bacteria in the lake and to characterize the types of bacteria present. Selective tests included citrate tests, oxidase tests, MacConkey agar tests, methyl red tests, and Gram staining. Results of the tests performed to date were consistent with all bacterial clones being Escherichia coli. The initial filtration indicated that the concentration of bacteria from the water sample was within the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended E. coli levels that are safe for recreational use. Final identification of these clones will be confirmed by DNA sequence analysis. Future experiments will include using these bacterial clones to test the antimicrobial effect of plant extracts. The hypothesis is that certain plant extracts might have variable effects on growth of common bacteria found in recreational waters. An aqueous extract of the Xylopia aethiopica pepper plant that has been shown to have antibacterial activity against E. coli and Bacillus subtilis will be used to perform a modified Kirby-Bauer assay. If antimicrobial activity is found, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) will be determined. This research is expected to add to current knowledge about the feasibility of using plant extracts for antibacterial treatments.