Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Lee H. Lee

Committee Member

Sandra Adams

Committee Member

Ann Marie DiLorenzo


Antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming an increasing threat worldwide, particularly in the healthcare setting. This has led researchers and healthcare providers to begin looking elsewhere for solutions. Research suggests that curcumin, a phenolic compound from the spice turmeric, has antibacterial properties that may be able to treat potentially life-threatening hospital infections, such as those caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Turmeric has been used in Asian medicine for thousands of years as a general antimicrobial. Curcumin was utilized in this study, along with hispolon, another phenolic compound isolated from various mushrooms, such as Inonotus hispidus and Phellinus linteus, a medicinal mushroom. There is less prior data on hispolon as an antibacterial agent, but it has been found to be a potentially effective antiviral and antitumor treatment. Promising research done so far with hispolon as an antitubercular drug suggests that it may have some antibacterial properties as well. In this study, curcumin, hispolon mono methylether (HME), and hispolon pyrazole (HP) were tested on Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, and Mycobacterium smegmatis. The results obtained through colony forming unit assays, % inhibition calculations, growth curves, biofilm assays, and live-dead fluorescent microscopy suggest that HME has significant antibacterial effects on all of the microorganisms used except for E. faecalis, where the effects are only moderate, while curcumin has moderate antibacterial effects on all but M. smegmatis. HP did not have strong antibacterial effects on gram positive or gram negative bacteria, and only seemed to be effective against M. smegmatis.

File Format


Included in

Biology Commons