Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Biology

First Advisor

Jason A. Rosenzweig


The rising concentrations of Platinum Group Elements (PGEs) in the environment have raised serious concerns about their physiological impact. Some of the consequences of PGE exposures are known to include platinosis (which is characterized by extreme wheezing and sneezing), increased sensitivity to allergens and diarrhea. Currently, it is not known if dust containing PGEs are a bonafide microbial stress agent or if they. have any impact on microbes. Here, it was demonstrated by analysis of growth, oxidative stress sensitivity, and biofilm production assays that dust containing PGEs (house and road dust) are bonafide microbial stress agents. In addition, it was observed that the impact of house and road dust on biofilm production is dependent on environmental nutritional status and is specie specific. This is the first study to establish house dust and road dust as microbial stress agents that can modulate the virulence potential of pathogens by characterizing their impact in six different bacterial species and five ribonuclease deficient mutants with compromised RNA degradation capabilities.