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Developing a tool set to investigate antimicrobial mode of action in a phytopathogen

PhD ceremony:Mr A. (André) Soibelmann Glock Lorenzoni
When:February 25, 2019
Supervisors:prof. dr. D.J. (Dirk-Jan) Scheffers, prof. dr. A.J.M. (Arnold J M) Driessen
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
Developing a tool set to investigate antimicrobial mode of action
in a phytopathogen

Bacteria are the most ubiquitous organisms on Earth. In a human body, there are more bacterial than human cells. Bacteria are an essential part of the carbon and nitrogen cycles which make life on Earth possible. The metabolic diversity of bacteria has been harnessed for the synthesis of industrial compounds such as pharmaceuticals, food ingredients and additives, and biocatalysts. However, a small proportion of bacteria are pathogenic, causing harm to humans and agriculture. To combat these bacteria, humans have developed antibiotics and antimicrobials, which drastically reduced mortality from bacterial diseases, increased human life expectancy worldwide, and increased the yield of food production. The widespread use of antimicrobials stimulated bacterial resistance, which has rapidly become a threat to public health and agriculture. The continued discovery of new antimicrobials is needed to avoid a widespread pandemic of antibiotic resistant bacteria and to combat plant diseases more effectively. Once discovered, antimicrobial substances can be chemically modified to improve potency, stability, delivery, or pharmacokinetics.

In this thesis we investigated the mode of action of the gold liganded antimicrobial compound 7b-BF4 in the model bacterial organism Bacillus subtilis. We also studied the antimicrobial effect of chalcones BC1 and T9A in B. subtilis as well as in the citrus-infecting bacteria Xanthomonas citri. In studying the mode of action of those substances we have developed techniques that revealed new insights into the cell biology of X. citri that can be used for further studies.