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Auchincloss, L.; Laursen, S.; Branchaw, J.; Eagan, K.; Graham, M.; Hanauer, D.; Lawrie, G.; McLinn, C.; Pelaez, N.; Rowland, S.; Towns, M.; Trautmann, N.; Varma-Nelson, P.; Weston, T. and Dolan, E., “Assessment of Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences: A Meeting Report” , CBE Life Sci. Educ., 13 (1), 29-40, Spring 2014.

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Article

Effects of Shade on Antibacterial Production in Aloe Vera Plants: A Model Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience for First- and Second-Year Chemistry and Biochemistry Students

1Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina Asheville, One University Heights, Asheville, North Carolina, 28804, United States

2Department of Physical Sciences, Lander University, 320 Stanley Avenue, Greenwood, South Carolina, 29649


World Journal of Chemical Education. 2019, Vol. 7 No. 4, 248-253
DOI: 10.12691/wjce-7-4-3
Copyright © 2019 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Lauren Fields, Whitney R. Craig, Sally A. Wasileski, Amanda L. Wolfe. Effects of Shade on Antibacterial Production in Aloe Vera Plants: A Model Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience for First- and Second-Year Chemistry and Biochemistry Students. World Journal of Chemical Education. 2019; 7(4):248-253. doi: 10.12691/wjce-7-4-3.

Correspondence to: Amanda  L. Wolfe, Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina Asheville, One University Heights, Asheville, North Carolina, 28804, United States. Email: awolfe@unca.edu

Abstract

As a means to promote student engagement in chemistry, this proposed course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) provides an opportunity for students to research a topic that is particularly prevalent in national public health headlines. Antibiotic resistance is a public health issue of increasing concern as result of the overuse and often misuse of antibiotics. For this reason, it is important to explore a variety of avenues to discover novel antibiotics, including isolating bioactive natural products from plants and other organisms. Organisms such as plants, bacteria, and fungi have long been utilized for their antibacterial properties, but little is known for how the majority of these natural remedies are affected by varying growth conditions. Herein, we propose a method through which students in first- and second-year chemistry or biochemistry laboratory courses can manipulate growth factors of Aloe vera, an antibiotic-producing plant, to probe how those manipulations affect antibiotic production and therefore Aloe vera’s effectiveness as an herbal medicine. Aloe vera plants were grown under varying shade conditions, and their gel was extracted and evaluated for antibiotic activity using both a broth microdilution assay and an agar diffusion assay against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Through this model, students are able to develop critical thinking skills, derive a hypothesis, and use analytical and biochemical techniques to evaluate their hypothesis.

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