Title

Elucidating the Antimicrobial Effects of Curcuma longa, Curcuma aerogunosia, and Ziginber officinale to Combat Superbugs Related to NASA Space Travel

Faculty Sponsor

Danielle Orozco-Nunnelly

College

Arts and Sciences

Discipline(s)

Biology

ORCID Identifier(s)

0000-0003-3381-0504 , 0000-0003-2032-9391, 0000-0001-7599-0473

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-28-2022

Abstract

According to recent studies, the International Space Station has been colonized by numerous bacteria and fungi, including several opportunistic pathogens that have been found to possess antimicrobial resistance. Despite this identified need, there has been a stark decrease in antimicrobial drug development in recent years, which has brought the isolation of novel antimicrobial agents to the forefront of modern healthcare. The increase of antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms, in addition to several scientific reports highlighting how space travel may place astronauts at a heightened risk of infection, has been a driving motivation to discover novel antimicrobial agents. Therefore, the research herein is focused on testing bacterial and fungal pathogens that have been isolated from the International Space Station against methanolic extracts from medicinal plants, such as Curcuma longa, Curcuma aerogunosia, and Ziginber officinale. Methanol extracts from bulbs vs. roots of C. longa, C. aerogunosia, and Z. officinale were separated and tested for antimicrobial activities with several specific extracts showing strong inhibitory effects against multiple bacterial and fungal lines. Further work is currently being conducted to identify the specific compounds responsible for this activity, as well as to better understand the potential mechanism of antimicrobial action. These data highlight the importance of plants as an invaluable pharmaceutical resource at a time when antimicrobial drug discovery has plateaued.

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