Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences


Genetic engineering is a relatively new process and is a major focus of research in various fields, such as medicine, plant genetics, and food science. The potential applications of genetic engineering include designer drug production, mass protein production, and enhanced food processing. Finding an appropriate host organism to be used in genetic engineering is an important preliminary step. Pediococcus pentosaceus has been suggested as a bacterial species with such potential. Since plasmids are often the vector of choice in genetic recombination, this research tests the ability of P. pentosaceus to take up and incorporate plasmids into its genome. Two plasmids were chosen as test vectors based on genes they carry for antibiotic resistance. Electroporation was used to introduce the plasmids into the bacteria. It was found that P. pentosaceus possesses a rather high level of innate antibiotic resistance to both erythromycin and chloramphenicol. Natural levels of antibiotic resistance made it impossible to identify transformant colonies and, as a consequence, investigate plasmid stability in this host. There still may be possibilities for P. pentosaceus in genetic engineering, but a different method of selecting transformants will need to be developed.



Faculty Mentor

Marie Walsh

Departmental Honors Advisor

Jeffery R. Broadbent