Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Stanley Webb


Rapid isolation and identification of spores from various environmental samples is necessitated because anthrax spores can be used as biological weapons. The hydrophobic nature of spores may allow for their rapid concentration and partial purification from contaminating materials. In this study, spores from four taxonomic groups of Bacillaceae were isolated, purified and characterized for hydrophobicity by hexadecane partitioning, surface morphology by scanning electron microscopy, and steady-state fluorescence by spectroscopy. The morphology of spores was similar within taxonomic groups and dissimilar between groups. Spore hydrophobicity ranged from 0.3% to 65% and all spores had fluorescence emission peaks at 335 nm and 450 nm. The excitation maxima for the peak at 450 nm were shifted to higher wavelengths for the least hydrophobic spores. Regression analysis demonstrated a correlation between the taxonomic identity, as established by fatty acid analyses, and hydrophobicity. Hydrophobicity can be used to help isolate spores from complex environmental samples and intrinsic fluorescence is helpful in discriminating the taxonomic groups.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Biology Commons