Senior Project Advisor
Young, Jeff (Educator)
Antibacterial, Resistant mutations, E. Coli
Within a society concerned with the spread of infectious disease, many common cleaning products boast high germ mortality rates. Consumers have learned to trust marketed disinfectants to protect them from disease causing microbes. While "antibacterial'' sells in the consumer pursuit of cleanliness, concerns regarding the overuse of antibacterial agents have recently arisen. Bacteria have the ability to mutate and become resistant to antibiotics. Resistant mutations can result from prolonged or repeated exposure of the bacteria to the antibiotic. Theoretically, the genes that code for resistance negatively affect the bacteria's fitness. It is expected that a change in a gene's normal function will alter the fitness of an organism. Therefore, when no longer exposed to the antibiotic, the bacteria may "evolve backward" and lose resistance in order to be a better competitor. But recent studies indicate that this is often not the case.1 The bacterium E.coli demonstrates reduced mutation reversion, and in many cases the development of further compensatory mutations in the absence of antibiotics. When consumers reach to antibacterial products to kill bacteria, they may actually be encouraging its growth. Creating a bacteria-free home may be futile, or even counterproductive.
Nielsen, Heidi, "The Effect of Antibacterial Agents Triclosan and N-alkyl on E. coli Viability" (2000). WWU Honors Program Senior Projects. 328.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Antibacterial agents; Escherichia coli
student projects; term papers
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.