Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences


College of Science and Mathematics


Christopher Kitts

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Advisor College

College of Science and Mathematics


Matthew R. Borglin

This thesis demonstrates efficacy of Octenyl Succinic Anhydride (OSA), as a biofilm sanitizer. Biofilms allow bacteria to adhere to solid surfaces with the use of excreted polymeric compounds. For example, surfaces found in food production or processing facilities such as the interior of a raw milk holding tank, are some of the most susceptible to biofilm contamination. When present, biofilms can cause a variety of negative effects, which include; reduction of product shelf life, corrosion, and outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. The close association of biofilms with the majority of foodborne illness cases led the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create a new category of sanitizer specifically designed for treatment of mature biofilms. The efficacy of sanitizers in this new regulatory category is determined by the EPA protocols MB-19 and MB-20. The EPA’s protocols outline methods for cultivating, treating, and measuring effects on Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms in a continuous flow stir bar bioreactor. Biofilm modification by OSA was verified by the presence of octenyl esters on OSA treated biofilms with single point Raman spectrophotometry. OSA modified biofilm’s antimicrobial properties were first investigated with crystal violet staining in 96-well microtiter plates with inconclusive results. However, effective antimicrobial properties where apparent when using the CDC Biofilm Reactor. OSA treatments consistently returned a 6-log CFU/coupon reduction in biomass compared to controls. Inhibition of planktonic and/or biofilm regrowth was demonstrated using the 96-well plate methodology. This thesis demonstrated the effectiveness of OSA chemical esterification reaction as a biofilm treatment. In doing so, this work suggests a new approach for biofilm remediation by chemically modifying the structural components of biofilm.