Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Robert F. Standaert

Committee Members

Gregory W. Bishop, Abbas G. Shilabin


Concerns about global warming have resulted in a surge of research into alternatives to fossil fuels. In recent years, biofuels have gained traction due to their low environmental impact. Biofuel production most commonly employs microorganisms to convert biomass to fuel for industrial and transportation applications. Compounds made in biofuel production, however, are toxic to cell membranes and disrupt their integrity, harming the microorganisms and limiting biofuel yield. A key to overcoming this challenge is understanding how fuels interact with microorganisms’ cell membranes, which perform a host of functions, including transport, cell recognition, transduction, and movement. Phospholipids are the cell membrane’s building blocks and provide the critical matrix to support these vital functions. This research sought to make in-vitro membrane phospholipid models of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis (a biofuel producer candidate), subject them to fuel stress and employ fluorescence techniques to understand how fuels affect membrane integrity.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.