With the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, the need for new antibiotics has never been greater. This is especially true when it comes to Gram-negative bacteria, against which relatively few antibiotics are effective. While the soil and its microbes have historically been a goldmine of antibiotics, researchers have come up empty-handed in recent years. Bacillus is one such microbial genus found in the soil that is known to produce a variety of antimicrobial agents. This genus produces a variety of antimicrobial agents, of which bacitracin and polymyxin are two of the most well-known. In this study, we isolated Bacillus species from the dirt around BYU campus and screened them against four target strains (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Mycobacterium phlei) to observe their antimicrobial activity. Interestingly, we found that seven of our isolates demonstrated broad-spectrum activity against all four of our target strains. We screened these seven isolates against nine clinical strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and 31 carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) strains, and found that four of our isolates had activity against the vast majority of these target strains. While the exact identity of our isolates remains unknown, we are working to isolate and characterize the potent antibiotic compounds being produced by our isolates. Additionally, we hope to annotate our isolate's genomes to discover what genes encode the antibiotic compounds.
University / Institution: Brigham Young University
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Health & Medicine
Faculty Mentor: Richard Robison