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 Discussion 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) 2.5 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. 1.5 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- 531. 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. 0.9 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) 0.7 selected and tested for anti-bacterial chemicals in accordance Yale, Steven H. MD, and Keijan Liu, PhD. “Echinacea purpurea Therapy for the 0.6 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 0 Yarrow Leaf Yarrow Root Milkweed pod Milkweed Root Mountain Mint Echinacea Rosehips Sage Acknowledgments 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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