Searching for Organic Antimicrobials

CSANR Project 136

Status: Ongoing

Project Summary

Organic food production in Washington State is expanding rapidly. However, this industry is hampered by the lack of effective antimicrobial agents which can be used in organic food production. Plants rely on innate immunity to defend microbial invasion, depending on the antimicrobial effects of phytocompounds. Plants (herbs) with high antimicrobial contents were used to treat infections since ancient times, though their use in recent decades has been largely abandoned due to the discovery of antibiotics. However, these phytochemicals are excellent candidates for developing organic antimicrobials to treat infection in organic livestock, in particular cow mastitis. Dandelion has long been used as an antimicrobial herb to treat mastitis, but its antimicrobial compounds have not been characterized. We plan to develop an effective extraction method to isolate these antimicrobial compounds from Dandelion and to further test their efficacy in inhibiting the growth of pathogens causing cow mastitis, focusing on Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. The development of effective phytochemical extracts against microbial infection, so called “organic antimicrobials”, will facilitate the development and profitability of organic farming, further boosting the prosperity of organic agricultural industry at Washington State and the US.

Annual Entries


Principal Investigator: Meijun Zhu
Additional Investigators: Min Du
Lawrence Fox
Karen Killinger
Shuming Zhang
Grant Amount: $40000