Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

John Makemson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Laurie Richardson

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Anthony DeCaprio

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Analytical Chemistry, Bacteriology, Microbiology

Date of Defense



Quorum sensing (QS) is a process that allows bacteria to sense the population density of cells around them by communicating with each other via autoinducer molecules. This cross-communication is crucial in the regulation of bacterial processes such as bioluminescence, virulence, and biofilm formation. Previous research by Milburn and Makemson on Vibrio harveyi suggested that in addition of the known biosynthesis of three well-characterized autoinducers, dozens of unknown molecules are also produced and released to the environment by V. harveyi. This study was performed using electrospray tandem mass spectrometry with the purpose of detection and characterization of the extracellular molecules produced by V. harveyi, and assessment of their relationship to QS. A total of 11 molecules were characterized, from which three could be related to QS. These findings provide a glimpse of the nature of novel secondary metabolites produced by V. harveyi and provide the groundwork for further research.





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