Presenter: David Suisse, College of Humanities and Social Science, Communication Studies
Authors: David Suisse, Kayla Suisse
Faculty Advisor: Amita Kaundal, College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate Science
Institution: Utah State University
Many plants secrete substances to create a more favorable environment, including chemicals that kill pathogenic microbes or competing plants. Artemisia tridentata, also known as “Big Sagebrush,” is prevalent in the Rocky Mountain region of the US and is known to have antimicrobial capabilities. Studies report that chemicals released by the leaves and branches of A. tridentata affect bacteria native to deer rumen. Another study showed that 27 actinomycetes (anaerobic bacteria that form colonies) strains found in the rhizosphere of A. tridentata demonstrated antibacterial activities when tested on E. coli, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus. Native Americans traditionally used A. tridentata to relieve stomach pain, colds, coughs, sore eyes, and snake bites. Researchers found several compounds, including flavonoids, that can affect antimicrobial activity. In this study, we are investigating the antimicrobial activities of the leaves, stem, roots, and flowers of A. tridentata by agar well diffusion and will then validate through agar disk diffusion. In our preliminary studies we used 50μl of leaf, twig and flower extract at 50mg/ml. We are standardizing our antimicrobial assay by increasing the concentrations of the various standard antibiotics we used, such as ampicillin, as well as the concentration of our extracts. We are also including additional human pathogens in the study, namely Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus. Upon completing several rounds of assay, we’ll be isolating the compounds from positive extract using LCMS. The knowledge obtained from this research will further help in the identification and characterization of the secondary metabolites or chemicals involved in antimicrobial activity of sagebrush. Medicinal plants provide a healthy, natural alternative to conventional medication, and may lead to new insights on antibiotics and pharmaceuticals. Besides, Artemisia tridentata is a plant native to Utah and Idaho. It grows everywhere in the surrounding area, making it inexpensive to produce.