A Rotary Evaporator, an High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) and a Plate Spectrophotometer for the discovery of new antibiotics from native plants
Antibiotics are widely used in medicine and food production. They have saved many lives directly as treatments for infectious diseases or indirectly by giving access to surgical procedures, cancer treatments and so on. Antibiotics have also changed the way we raise animals for food. However, with the increase in the use of antibiotics there has been an increase in the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria present in food industries, hospitals and the environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) is taking measures to discover new antibiotic molecules. Lethbridge College through the Microbial Research Group has also engaged in this important research. The Microbial Research Group has developed the Antibiotic Alberta Plant Project (AAPP) in which they identify native plants with antibacterial activities and isolate antibiotic molecules. The ARTI grant will be used to purchase three pieces of equipment that will improve the quality of this research as well as its efficiency: A Rotary Evaporator to remove the solvents used in the extraction; a High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) system that will permit a first analysis of the active extracts and to compare the active extracts with the goal to find unique molecules. These two instruments will be the first ones in place at Lethbridge College. The third piece of equipment is a microplate spectrophotometer that is essential to conduct antibacterial screening, and will join the one in the laboratory, which is already at capacity. This increased capacity will place our region on the WHO map of antibiotic partners. Moreover, the additional equipment will also position the Microbial Research Group favourably to attract partners in the natural product, food (especially beef production), and pharmaceutical industries. Finally, these pieces of equipment will significantly contribute to student-training, one of the main goals of Lethbridge College.