Caseous lymphadenitis (CL) is a highly contagious and chronic disease that effects small ruminants worldwide. CL is caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (Cp), an extremely resilient pathogen that can survive for months in the host’s living environment. Treatment of CL is a challenge due to Cp’s resistance to many antibiotics and the inefficacy and side effects of previous vaccines. The goal of this project is to find an alternative method of treatment and control of CL using essential oils with known antimicrobial properties. The student will test the antimicrobial effects of common essential oil components on Cp cultures that have been isolated from Maine sheep and goats, as well as their effect on host immune cells. The results of this project could help farmers to control the spread of CL infections in a sustainable yet effective manner.
Project objectives from proposal:
1. To determine which essential oil constituents are most effective as antimicrobials against C. pseudotuberculosis
2. To determine the cytotoxic effects of select essential oils on mammalian immune cells
3. To evaluate stimulatory effects of essential oil constituents on immune-related genes in macrophage and neutrophil cells