Peacock Scholarship

On the Effects of Supplemental Lycopene on Pseudomonas fluorescens Biofilm Growth and Their Therapeutic Potential

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Even with modern medical discoveries and advances, few effective means exist to combat antibiotic resistance in the clinical setting, and as such treating infections due to pathogens that exhibit it continues to be a formidable challenge for doctors and medical practitioners. Often, it is found that antibiotic-resistant bacterial species have within their arsenals the ability to form what are called biofilms. Biofilms are communal, surface-associated assemblages of bacterial cells encased in polysaccharide matrix. Bacterial cells that live within such protective communities are usually more resistant to the effects of antimicrobial agents––like antibiotics––than planktonic (i.e., free-living) bacterial cells, often resulting in elevated levels of virulence and pathogenicity. Therefore, it stands to reason that novel treatments that specifically target the growth of bacterial biofilms would be greatly beneficial in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria (colloquially called “superbugs”). This study in particular investigates whether supplemental lycopene has an inhibitory effect on the growth of Pseudomonas fluorescens biofilms and whether this inhibition can be synergistically enhanced when used with the broad-spectrum antibiotic, chlortetracycline. Previous studies have established the anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties of lycopene (which is a red-colored carotenoid and antioxidant), but have not investigated its antimicrobial properties in much detail. Obtained results using a standard crystal violet (CV) biofilm assay do suggest that biofilm inhibition increases with increasing supplemental lycopene concentration, and that biofilm inhibition is more substantial when supplemental lycopene is allowed to exert its effects in conjunction with antibiotics like chlortetracycline. Studies involving similar assays are ongoing to corroborate the reproducibility and validity of the obtained results.

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  • 06/14/2022
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