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									                                        Antibacterial Properties of Prairie Plants
                                                                            Evan Blind, Sophie Gardner, Ingrid Jorud, Amanda Niemann
                                                                         Department of Biology, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota 56562

Abstract                                                                     Materials and methods                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Antibacterial effect on S. epidermidis
In this experiment, the medicinal properties of prairie plants were                                                                                                                                                                                                                       3

                                                                             The materials used for this experiment included: Echinacea                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The experiment was conducted in a traditional manner to
analyzed for antibacterial effects in accordance with folklore of
                                                                             root, Yarrow leaf, Yarrow root, Milkweed pod, Milkweed root,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            parallel the way plant properties have historically been isolated

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Average Zone of Inhibition (mm)
natural plant treatments. Six plant species found on the bluestem
                                                                             Sage, Mountain mint, Rosehips, half pint jars, 40% alcohol,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             and used. This was done to maintain consistency in methods
prairie were sampled, including Echinacea, Rosehips, Mountain
                                                                             paper filter disks, tweezers, coffee filters, Bunsen burner, Petri                                                                                                                                           2                                                                                                                          and results. The properties that have been shown according to
Mint, Yarrow (leaf and root), Milkweed (pod and root), and Sage.
                                                                             plates, nutrient agar, incubator, and E. coli and S. epidermidis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        past folklore were not present within the constraints of the
A 2:3 liquid alcohol extraction was performed on the respective
                                                                             pure cultures.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     experiment performed.
plants. After three weeks, paper filter disks were soaked in the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Average Zone of Inhibition

extracts and plated on S. epidermidis and E. coli. The plates                                                                                                                                                                                                                             1
                                                                             The first step in performing the experiment was to gather                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Multiple variables from this experiment could be altered for
were incubated at 35˚C and observed over a period of three
                                                                             samples of each plant from the prairie. One half-pint canning jar                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       further research. Changes may include testing different
days. The results showed that Mountain Mint and Rosehips                                                                                                                                                                                                              0.5

                                                                             was filled with the appropriate part (root, leaf, fruit, etc) of the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    concentrations of plant extracts, purification for one
showed slight zones of inhibition on S. epidermidis, while the
                                                                             specific plant. In the lab, the plants were finely chopped and put                                                                                                                                           0                                                                                                                          characteristic, testing against different strands of bacteria, or
remaining plants did not seem to affect the bacteria.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Yarrow Leaf   Yarrow   Milkweed   Milkweed Mountain    Echinacea     Rosehips      Sage
                                                                             back into the jars along with sufficient 40% alcohol to cover the                                                                                                                                                               Root      pod        Root        Mint
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Prairie Plants
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     testing at different growth stages.
                                                                             chopped plant. They were incubated at 30⁰C for 10 days to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Figure 2. As shown on this graph, there were antibacterial                                                                                                      Errors may have changed results or malfunctioned, such as
                                                                             allow for extraction of the chemical properties of the plant. The                                                                                                       properties expressed by Mountain Mint and Rosehip fruit
                                                                             extractions were then strained with a coffee filter to remove any                                                                                                       against S. epidermidis.                                                                                                                                         insufficient sterilization of equipment used, causing plate
                                                                             solid particles.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        contamination and growth other than the intended bacteria. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     plant extracts could have also been contaminated by growth of
                                                                             Two types of bacteria, E. coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          microscopic organisms on plant samples. Also, variation in
                                                                             were tested against each plant. For both bacteria, two Petri                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            concentration and potency of plants may have affected results.
                                                                             plates for each plant were labeled, filled with nutrient agar to                                                                                                                                                          Zone of Inhibition Measurement (mm)
                                                                             cover the bottom, and plated with the corresponding bacteria.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           After analysis, it has been shown that when tested against S.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     epidermidis and E. coli, antibacterial properties were minimal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Zone #            Rosehips                  Mountain Mint
                                                                             Three paper filter disks were soaked in the liquid extractions                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          when prepared in the executed method. There were slight
                                                                             and placed on each plate. One control plate was also made for                                                                                                                                                                             1                  0                            4                                             zones of inhibition present when testing Mountain Mint and
                                                                             each bacteria using three disks soaked in just 40 % alcohol.                                                                                                                                                                              2                  4                            0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Rose Hips against S. epidermidis. There were no antibacterial
                                                                             The plates were then incubated at 35⁰C. After 3 days, the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               effects when tested against E. coli. Further testing could be
                                                                             plates were removed, and checked for any inhibition of bacterial                                                                                                                                                                          3                  3                            4                                             done to determine which part of the bacterial growth was
                                                                             growth. For those that had an antibacterial effect, the zone of                                                                                                                                                                         Average             2.3                          2.6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     affected. Also, studies could be done to isolate which part of the
                                                                             inhibition was measured in millimeters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 mint and rose hips affected growth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Table 1. Displays the results that were collected from the
Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           measurements of the zones of inhibition on the Rosehips and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Mountain Mint S. epidermidis Petri plates.                                                                                                                    This experiment is preliminary and could lead to vast and further
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     research of unique characteristics, such as analyzing mint oils
Native American tribes used various woodland and prairie                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             or testing the effects of plants on human systems.
plants for a number of years. They used the plants for food as-                                                                                                                                                                                  A T-test was performed using our measurement of zones of inhibition
well-as for their medicinal purposes. In order to obtain the                 Results                                                                                                                                                             to determine if there was significant difference between the observed
medicinal properties of the plants they could; grind them up to                                                                                                                                                                                  antibiotic properties. Since our tob< 2.13, it can be concluded that
rub on a wound or make a tea with the leaves/root and consume                In the experiment, there were slight zones of inhibition for two                                                                                                    there is no difference between the observed properties.
the tea. Sometimes the medicine would be of success,                         species: Rose Hips and Mountain Mint. The zones of inhibition                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Literature cited
however, if it was not successful, the people of the tribe would             occurred only on the S. epidermidis plates. The Rose Hips
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Blumenthal et al. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic
try some other means of medicine. When a plant showed some                   sample exhibited zones of 3 and 4 mm in diameter. The                                                                                                               This would not indicate what the antibacterial properties of the plants                                                                                             Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin, Texas: American Botanical Council, 1998.
signs of promise, the plant would then be associated with the                Mountain Mint displayed 4 and 4 mm zones. No zones of                                                                                                               were, only that antibacterial properties were present.                                                                                                              Linde K et al. “The Methodological Quality of Randomized Controlled Trials of
sickness or strain it relieved.                                              inhibition formed from the other six samples. There were no                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Homeopathy, Herbal Medicines and Acupuncture.” Int J Epidemiol. 30.3 (2001): 526-
                                                                             zones of inhibition present on the E.coli plates.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Suffredini, I. B., Sader, H. S., Gonçalves, A. G., Reis, A. O., Gales, A. C., Varella, A.
Today we can not test random plant extracts or wraps on people                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       D., et al. (2004). Screening of antibacterial extracts from plants native to the Brazilian
as they in the past did due to medical ethics policies, but we can                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Amazon rainforest and Atlantic forest. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological
                                                                                                                                                             Antibacterial effect on E. coli                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Research, 37(3), 379-384.
test for antibacterial properties of plants in a lab. The purpose                                                  1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Tyler, Varro E. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals.
of this experiment is to test anti-bacterial traits of varying prairie                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Pharmaceutical Products Press: 1994.
plant species. This experiment will test plants with a folkloric                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Tyler, Varro E. The Honest Herbal: A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herbs and Related
                                                                                                                  0.8                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Remedies. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press: An Imprint of the Haworth
history of exhibiting medicinal properties. The plants will be                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Press, Inc., 1993.
                                                                                Average Zone of Inhibition (mm)

selected and tested for anti-bacterial chemicals in accordance                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Yale, Steven H. MD, and Keijan Liu, PhD. “Echinacea purpurea Therapy for the
with speculated benefits.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Treatment of the Common Cold: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled
                                                                                                                  0.5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Clinical Trial.” Arch Intern Med. 164.11 (2004): 1237-1241.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Average Zone of Inhibition
In this experiment we will use two types of bacteria with different                                               0.4

cell wall configurations. Using extracts of the selected plants we                                                0.3

will test the possible antibacterial effects against the chosen                                                   0.2

bacteria.                                                                                                         0.1

                                                                                                                        Yarrow Leaf Yarrow Root   Milkweed
                                                                                                                                                                                      Echinacea   Rosehips   Sage
                                                                                                                                                                  Prairie Plants                                                                                                              Photo 1. Zones of inhibition can be faintly seen in this                                                               We thank Colleen Hyde for the preparation of the nutrient agar, provision of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              photograph. The orange coloring is due to staining of the agar                                                         isolated bacterial samples, and use of lab equipment. Recognition is also
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     given to Bluestem Prairie for the reference of prairie plants. Use of the
                                                                              Figure 1. This shows that there were no antibacterial properties                                                                                                                                                by the extraction.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     microbiology incubators and lab area was greatly appreciated.
                                                                              expressed against E. coli.

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