Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Kalai Mathee

Second Advisor

Dr. James Fourqurean

Abstract

Quorum sensing is a communication mechanism employed by many bacteria. The bacteria secrete signal molecules known as acyl homoseriene lactones (AHLs) that cue to population size/density. Bacteria can be alerted of this optimum population by the concentration of these signal molecules. When the concentration of AHLs exceed a threshold valve, they enter the bacterial cell and causes the transcription of genes encoding virulence factors necessary for their colonization and survival. The marine algae Delise a pulchra, found off the coast of Australia is thought to produce compounds that inhibit the activity of the AHLs. The algae employ these compounds, known as furanones, as an anti-fouling agent. We postulated that marine algae of South Florida might contain similar activity; we screened 30 different algal species and found 22 species had the activity. Algal extracts were made from Halimeda incrassata using hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate and methanol as solvents. The extracts were assayed for anti-quorum sensing activity. The results showed many of the South Florida green algae to possess anti-quorum sensing activity, however extracts of H incrassata did not show quorum sensing inhibition.

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