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Ashley Fink, Todd Johnson


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are common medications that are frequently used to suppress symptoms of viral and bacterial infections. The increase in concern of antibiotic resistance has led researchers to study the effects of NSAIDs on bacterial growth or on common antibiotics. This study aims to determine whether commonly used NSAIDs, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, have any antibacterial properties that might help suppress bacterial growth. In conjunction, this study also looks to see whether the combination of NSAIDs and an antibiotic can further reduce bacterial growth than if an antibiotic is used alone. Our procedure consisted of lab-grown Escherichia coli (E. coli) that was mixed with ibuprofen (8ug/ml), acetaminophen (15ug/ml), or ampicillin at either 8 or 15ug/ml. These concentrations are based on typical blood serum levels of each respective drug. UV spectrophotometer was used to determine bacterial growth through absorbance values (600nm). The results show larger absorbance values (meaning greater bacterial growth) when ibuprofen and acetaminophen are present. Data also shows that when NSAIDs are used in combination with ampicillin, absorbance values would be greater than if ampicillin was used alone. Possible mechanisms leading to these results could include horizontal gene transfer in E. coli or inhibiting the antibiotic effects of ampicillin. Future research should focus on determining the primary mechanism NSAIDs use to promote bacterial growth or inhibit antibiotics.