Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Robert Standaert

Committee Members

Dr. Gregory W. Bishop, Dr. Abbas Gholipour Shilabin


Fuel molecules are organic solvents that have disruptive effects on the bacterial membrane. This is a significant barrier in biofuel production, as it limits the fuel concentration that can be achieved through fermentation. One potential way of overcoming this barrier is to identify lipid compositions that can better withstand solvent stress, for which it is important to understand how organic solvents disrupt the membrane. Use of biophysical characterization techniques to quantify physical properties like fluidity and thickness will enable us to understand the mechanism by which solvents disrupt membranes. Native membranes are very complex, and we sought to develop in-vitro models for the membrane of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis that use pure phospholipids. Toward this goal, a number of the unusual B. subtilis fatty acids were synthesized, partial synthesis of the membrane phospholipids was achieved, and preliminary assessment of solvent effects on standard lipids was performed using a fluorescence technique.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.