2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Investigating How Secondary Metabolites Change During Interactions Among Fungi and Bacteria

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Leonora Bittleston


Sagebrush leaves host microbial communities that produce secondary metabolites likely to be important for plant health and function. Previous research demonstrated the antagonistic properties of B. amyloliquefaciens against fungal microbes, possibly attributable to its secretion of secondary metabolites. This study investigates the chemistry of three sagebrush-associated microbes—C. hebarum, A. pullulans, and B. amyloliquefaciens—during their interactions. Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis confirmed differential metabolite profiles among monocultures and co-cultures. Additionally, the widespread distribution of B. amyloliquefaciens in various environments underscores its importance. The objective of this research was to investigate the chemistry of three sagebrush-associated microbes, and how it changed during their interactions with each other. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS) revealed unique chemical patterns, indicating interspecies differences and interactive effects. We hypothesized that PCA and NMDS analyses would reveal distinct differences in the chemistry of our focal species, with clustering of replicates and separation among different species. Our results show replicate clustering to suggest consistent chemistry within groups, with notable differences observed across mono and co-cultures. Specifically, PCA highlighted the similarity between the BC co-culture and B. amyloliquefaciens, while NMDS exhibited greater distinction. Future analyses will elucidate underlying mechanisms and specific chemicals driving these differences.

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