Dustin Mier


Investigation of Ailanthus altissima Extracts on Microbial Species

Increasing resistance to antimicrobial drugs by infectious organisms has created a growing need for the discovery of possible sources of new antimicrobial agents. Ailanthus altissima, commonly known as the Tree of Heaven (ToH,) is an invasive species native to Eastern Asia. Previous studies have shown that ToH root extract stimulates growth of Azotobacter vinelandii, a common soil bacterium. The study also indicated that a ToH leaf extract produced an antibacterial effect on Azotobacter vinelandii. To further study the production of antimicrobial compounds by ToH, we investigated the effect of ToH root and leaf extracts on Azotobacter vinelandii, as well as ten bacteria and four fungi of clinical importance. Both water and ethanol extracts were prepared by cutting the corresponding part of the tree and placing root/leaf pieces in the proper solvent. The extracts prepared did not appear to have an inhibitory effect on any of the bacteria or fungi tested. Stimulatory effects of the extracts are currently being investigated on all of these organisms as well as organisms isolated from soil.

Faculty Mentor: Roderick Morgan

Page last modified July 14, 2009