Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Elaine Walker, Foster Levy

Committee Members

Felix Sarubbi, Bert C. Lampson


Control of antibiotic resistance in bacteria is based on the concept that resistance incurs a fitness cost in non-selective conditions. Fitness costs were assessed for low- and high-level mupirocin resistance in locally-derived Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis. Costs of resistance were assessed in pure cultures by comparing growth curve characteristics and in mixed culture as the proportion of resistant cells surviving. Costs were not present in comparisons of growth rates among groups of naturally-occurring isolates from the different resistance categories. However, in S. aureus, growth rates within resistance categories differed by approximately 30 – 90%. Among near-isogenic pairs of strains, fitness costs ≥10% were present in three of eleven pairs under pure culture and in six of eleven pairs under competition in mixed culture. Differences in intrinsic growth rates could easily mask fitness costs of the magnitudes observed. Thus, clinical outcomes also depend on whether there is a mixed infection and if so, on the growth rates of strains present.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Bacteriology Commons