Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Larry Elliott, Martin Houston, Scott Ford

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


The drug of choice for the treatment of Stieptococcal pharyngitis is penicillin G. However, a common home remedy prescribes the use of salt-water solutions for gargling.

Members of Beta -hemolytic streptococcal groups A, B, and C were isolated from the upper -respiratory tracts of patients diagnosed as having streptococcal pharyngitis. These cultures we:e obtained from HCA Greenview Hospital (Bowling Green, Kentucky) and used to study the effects of sodium chloride on the isolates.

The minimum inhibitory concentration of sodium chloride was determined for each of eight hospital isolates. Croup A streptococci were inhibited at a concentration of 7.2% sodium chloride while Group C streptococci were inhibited at a 7.0% concentration. Group P streptococci were more resistant, and inhibition of growth occurred at 12.0% sodium chloride concentrations.

Scanning electron microscopic studies showed no significant differences in the external structure of cells treated with sodium chloride when compared to non-treated cells. Despite the lack of changes in the external structure of treated cells, fine structural alterations were observed with transmission electron microscopic studies.

Treatment of the cells with sodium chloride resulted in a condensation of nucleoid deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and some loss of ribosomes. These changes were followed by a dissolution of the cytoplasmic cell contents resulting in an intact cell wall with capsule.

Other parameters such as the rate of growth, minimum bactericidal concentrations, DNA content and protein content of cells treated with sodium chloride were examined and compared to control cells.


Biology | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Immunology of Infectious Disease | Life Sciences