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Access Type

Campus Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Serretia plymuthica, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Enteritidis, Bacteria antagonist, Co-culture, Cell free extract


Bacteriocins are antimicrobial protein produced by certain Gram positive and negative bacteria as a defense mechanism against closely related bacteria competing for the same nutrient or in the same niche. The competition for the same nutrient is supported by the fact that bacteriocins have narrow range of effect and only likely to be effective against closely related bacteria for the same scares resources hence a bacteriocin produced by a Gram positive bacteria will be active against a Gram positive pathogens and a bacteriocin produced by a Gram negative bacteria will be active against Gram negative pathogens. This is due to the difference in cell wall composition, they are either bacteriocidal or bacteriostatic

Bacteriocins have been used for thousands of years for food preservation unknowingly to man, they are considered advantageous not only to the producing bacteria, but it's now been used by the food industry as a tool to control both spoilage and pathogenic bacteria in food, in a natural manner which is acceptable to the consumer.

With a lot of research been carried out on bacteriocins produced by Gram positive bacteria, antagonist to Gram positive food borne pathogens, little is known about bacteriocins produced by Gram negative bacteria which would be active against Gram negative food borne pathogens that predominate in produce.

The objective of my research therefore is to screen for antimicrobial antagonist to Gram negative food borne pathogens (Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Enteritidis) from produce, to determine an appropriate screening method, to carry out a preliminary characterization of antagonist discovered and also to determine antimicrobial spectrum of antagonist found. Lettuce was screened for antimicrobial antagonist against Gram negative pathogen (Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Enteritidis) which were used as indicator strains With over 5000 colonies screen, 1 colony (Serratia plymuthica) was discovered to be antagonistic against these indicator strain. Further screening of cell free extract using the spot test method showed that extract from Serratia plymuthica grown alone in TSBYE showed antagonist activity against indicator strain with a little clearing on the spot of extract dropped. But extract of a co-culture of Serratia plymuthica and either Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Salmonella Enteritidis showed a more obvious clearing around spotted zone, which further indicates antagonism against indicator strains. Preliminary heat test indicates antagonist compound to be heat stable at 60oC for 30mins, 100oC for 30minutes and 60mins and 121oC for 20minites, and antagonist compound possessed antagonist activity against other strains of Escherichia coli when tested.


First Advisor

Lynne A. McLandsborough