Industrial and Medical Microbiology

The discipline of microbiology is often divided into sub-disciplines such as medical microbiology, environmental microbiology, food microbiology and industrial microbiology. Industrial microbiology or microbial biotechnology is the application of scientific and engineering principles to the processing of materials by microorganisms. The microorganisms utilized may be native isolates, laboratory-selected mutants or microbes that have been genetically modified using recombinant DNA methods. Areas of industrial microbiology include discovery of new microorganisms, pathways and metabolites. Microorganisms under normal condition produce large number of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and food-grade products. Other applications of these microorganisms are the removal of organic and inorganic pollutants, microorganisms are safely used for many treatment processes carried in bioremediation.

Medical microbiology focuses on pathogenic microorganisms, their identification, virulence and mode of transmission, as well as what pathogens do to human body and how they can be eradicated. The emergence of resistant microorganisms, by either mutations or acquisition of mobile genetic elements carrying resistance genes, may take place irrespective of the presence of antimicrobial agents. Efforts are done to control the current global threat of antimicrobial resistance and to find new antimicrobial products of natural and synthetic nature.

Research (Master and PhD theses) carried under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Hoda Yusef in the Microbiology Laboratory of Faculty of Science, BAU related to Industrial Microbiology and Medical Microbiology include:

  • Production of Biosurfactants by Bacteria
  • Microbial Production of Pigments
  • Environmental Factors Affecting Microbial Pectinase Production
  • Production of Bioelectricity Using Microbial Fuel Cell
  • Cross-Resistance to Biocides and Antibiotics in Bacteria
  • Comparative Study on the Inhibition of E. coli and Murine Aspartate Transcarbamylase by Phenobarbital Analogues
  • Antibacterial Effect of Toothpaste Against the Plaque Forming Bacteria
  • Antimicrobial Effect of Curcumin Against Some Food Borne Pathogens
  • Comparative Study of the Antifungal Activity of Olea europaea L. Against some pathogenic Candida Isolates in Lebanon
  • Isolation of Lactic Acid Bacteria from the Lebanese Goat Dairy Products and Evaluation of their Antimicrobial Properties
  • Antimicrobial Resistance Pattern in Biofilm Associated with Medical Devices
  • Effects of Clay Samples on Some Pathogenic Microorganisms
  • Effects of Some Drugs on Klebsiella pneumonia
  • Impact of Probiotics on Features of Stem Cells and Healing of Mucosal Damage in the Stomach
  • Effect of Probiotics Supplements on Gut microbiota in diabetic Rats
  • Phenotypic and Molecular Characteristics of Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria Isolated from Pregnant Women in Lebanon

Selected Abstract from our research:

Letters in Drug Design & Discovery, 2016, 13: 276-281.

Comparative Study of the Inhibition of E. coli and Murine Aspartate Transcarbamylase by Phenobarbital Analogues

Mahmoud Balbaa, Razan Hammoud and Hoda Yusef

Abstract: Introduction: Aspartate transcarbamylase (ATCase) is involved in the initial steps of pyrimidine nucleotide biosynthesis and subject to regulation. Objective: Since Phenobarbital is an important drug, the current study focuses on a comparative investigation of the inhibition of bacterial and murine ATCase by some phenobarbital analogues. Methods: Phenobarbital analogues (thymidine, phenobarbital, and thiobarbituric acid) have been subjected for in vitro and in vivo investigation of their effect on ATCase in mice and three strains of Escherichia coli. Results: The half maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of ATCase activity were measured for each compound. According to IC50 values, an in vitro and in vivo inhibition was obtained upon the treatment of mammalian and bacterial ATCases with the three compounds, whereas thiobarbituric acid is the most potent among all. Its obtained IC50 values are 0.2 ± 0.045 and 0.3 ± 0.03 mM for the bacterial and mammalian enzyme, respectively. Furthermore, the in vivo treatment of ATCase with different doses of these compounds showed the same tendency in a dose-dependent manner. Conclusion:These observations suggest that these inhibitors may interfere with the regulation of the enzyme and eventually lead to an additional biological effect of phenobarbital analogues in mammals and bacteria.

Future research plans include:

  • Investigation of the biodiversity and biotechnological applications of extremophiles in Lebanon (Halophiles and Psychrophiles)
  • Investigation of the antimicrobial effects of some bioactive compounds
  • Investigation of the resistance of clinical isolates to antimicrobial agents