Student Research Projects

Crude Extraction of Potential Antimicrobial Compounds Found within Gracilaria vermiculophylla

Student Antionette Edler, '17
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Chemistry
Course CHEM 489: Research in Natural Sciences


Several reports have been made describing the biological activity shown by compounds found in various marine algae. The potential applications for these compounds are relevant to a variety of fields including pharmaceutical, medicinal, agricultural, and foods. Gracilaria vermiculophylla is an invasive red algae species known to have invaded and now inhabit the Atlantic coasts. Little study has been conducted on this red algae species especially with regards to the biological activity of the compounds it possesses. The objective of this project is to investigate and determine the effectiveness of the antimicrobial activity exhibited by compounds extracted from Gracilaria vermiculophylla. Crude extracts were obtained via steam distillation and multiple liquid-liquid extractions using solvents such as butanol, ethyl acetate, hexane and methanol. Bioassays were preformed against a series of fungi and gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial pathogens. The results revealed that none of the extracts exhibited significant inhibitory effect on the growth of any fungi and bacterial pathogens tested. The investigation suggests that Gracilaria vermiculophylla does not contain any antimicrobial compounds that can be easily extracted using traditional methods for isolating small organic compounds.