Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Campus Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Member

Steven Pernecky, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Daniel Clemans, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ruth Ann Armitage, Ph.D.


Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate and lactate are the products of colonic bacterial degradation of starch and other carbon sources and are important in human health and disease. Prior work with test tube cultures has provided support for the idea that SCFA production in the microbiota is markedly affected by interaction of the organisms in the microbial community. The time courses of butyrate and lactate production during growth of the organisms in a bioreactor are currently being investigated to permit a meaningful analysis of microbial biochemistry in a more relevant model system. The goal of the research is to investigate the extent to which physical contact of microorganisms and/or shared biochemical pathways for production of SCFA are responsible for the dramatic changes in lactate or butyrate concentrations in media that occur when they are co-cultured in vitro.