The increasing incidence of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections has provoked the attention of health officials and scientists as a major threat to global public health. Antibiotic resistance is the product of overprescription by doctors, ineffective or shortened dosing by the patient, and more. When a bacterial infection is ineffectively treated as such, persistent pathogenic cells are given the opportunity to proliferate and spread their resistance to other cells. With bacteria utilizing such tools to fight and ultimately resist our current treatment methods, investigation towards the next novel mechanism of inhibition is essential. Venom is of particular interest to many scientists as a potential antimicrobial for its numerous bioactive capabilities. Venoms from several marine animals, insects, reptiles, and others have been collected and analyzed for signs of antimicrobial activity and other potential pharmaceutical uses. We investigated the antimicrobial properties of six venoms harvested from snakes of diverse origin. Using the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion assay, venom concentrations from 0.1-1000 μg/mL were applied and analyzed for signs of antimicrobial activity against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Proteus vulgaris by measuring zones of inhibition in centimeters (cm). For B. cereus, E. coli and P. vulgaris, results thus far have shown no inhibition, but for B. subtilis, antimicrobial activity was observed in one venom with average zone of inhibition diameters from 0.77-1.20 cm for concentrations 100-1000 μg/mL. Future directions include repeating and completing additional Kirby-Bauer assays, performing a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assay, and characterization of the active components in venoms exhibiting antimicrobial properties.
Berger, Savannah, "Investigating Antimicrobial Properties of Snake Venoms Against B. cereus, B. subtilis, E. coli, and P. vulgaris" (2021). Honors Program Theses and Research Projects. 2.
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