Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Suzanne Kern

Reader 2

Benson Ngo

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Rights Information

© 2016 Kristina K Millar


Due to the recent rise in antibiotic resistant pathogens, and the difficulties surrounding the quest for new antibiotics, many researchers have started revisiting antibiotic interactions in hopes of finding new treatment options. The primary outcome of this project was to examine the efficacy of concomitant antibiotic use under varying nutrient conditions, to identify variations in antibiotic interactions. Antibiotic interactions were studied, utilizing E. coli as a model bacterial system, grown in four different media types. E. coli cultures were treated with streptomycin, tobramycin, erythromycin, and amikacin individually and in a pairwise fashion at varying doses. We found that at least some antibiotic efficacies were dependent on the environmental nutrient conditions E. coli was grown in, as the antibiotics were not equally effective in all media types. E. coli grown in potato dextrose broth, in particular, showed extremely high tolerance to antibiotic inhibition. In addition, we observed several variations in antibiotic interactions, depending on the combination of antibiotics and environmental conditions utilized. It is predicted that differences in available nutrients is the primary cause of the observed discrepancies in antibiotic properties between media. The observation of changes in antibiotic efficacy under different environmental and nutrient conditions has serious implications for use of antibiotic combinations as drug treatments. Not all microenvironments within the human body have identical nutrient make-up. If the interactions antibiotics are reported to have in one environmental condition change under another, reckless prescription of combinations could lead to a serious adverse reaction. Thus, this is an important area for future in vitro and in vivo research.