Jared D. Heffron
Honors in Biology: Winter and Summer Isolations of Actinomycetes from Two Different Forest Soils and Competition Studies of Actinomycetes
Actinomycetes are an important group of bacteria in the soil rhizosphere. This project sought to determine what environmental factors affect actinomycete growth as well as the interactions between different types of actinomycetes. Protocols were designed to isolate actinomycetes from the environment and assay their growth. Such environmental factors as humidity, ph, soil type, and horizon showed no significant change in actinomycete growth. Winter sampling did show a significant decrease in actinomycete activity than during the summer, thus implicating temperature as a metabolic control. Competition studies with different actinomycete types revealed synergistic and antagonistic interactions. The interaction of one actinomycete type with another is dependent on those particular types being tested. Some are consistently antagonistic while others are synergistic and yet another can express either interaction depending on the competitor.