fbpx

To Clean or Not to Clean: Exploring the Ability of Biocidal Compounds to Induce Physiological Changes in Bacteria that may Increase the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance Genes

Head shot of Kayla Bertholf

Name: Kayla R. Bertholf
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Minor: Religious Studies
Advisor: Dr. Stephanie Strand

The prevalence of antibiotic resistance genes in non-clinical settings is increasing, and so are cleaning measures, especially over the past few years in relation to increased COVID-19 pandemic cleaning guidelines.  This may increase the likelihood of a changed chemical environment created by the breakdown of cleaning compounds on surfaces. The physical changes to surface-associated bacteria caused by cleaning solutions may disrupt membrane integrity and the action of efflux pumps, as well as allow for an increased presence of external genetic material on surfaces. The presence of bacterial DNA and antibiotic resistance genes on surfaces was quantified using qPCR and assessed using gel electrophoresis. If membrane disruption occurs in conjunction with the presence of extracellular genetic information, there may be a greater potential for the uptake and subsequent spread of antibiotic resistance genes if the environment creates selective pressure for this potential advantage.  The potential for membrane disruption was characterized via an adapted version of Lehrer’s assay and the Hoechst assay. If cleaning solutions are found to create a selective pressure at low concentrations, cleaning practices may need to be updated to prevent the surface level concentration of cleaning solution from becoming problematic.

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2022.


2 responses to “To Clean or Not to Clean: Exploring the Ability of Biocidal Compounds to Induce Physiological Changes in Bacteria that may Increase the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance Genes”

  1. Jennifer Faust says:

    Congratulations on your I.S., Kayla! I like how you connected your work to increased cleaning due to the pandemic.

  2. Carina Arnosti says:

    Congrats Kayla! Now I’m wondering if the infrequent cleaning of the locker room was actually helping us all along.