Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (MS)

Committee Member

Schmidl, Sebastian R.

Committee Member

Mendez, Monica O.

Committee Member

Jorgensen, Cameron R.


Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a human respiratory tract pathogen and one of the best-characterized minimal bacteria. It is a serious problem because of health problems it can cause as it can be detrimental to humans and the occurrence and aggravation of systemic involvement in M. pneumoniae infection occur via multiple immunological pathways. With its major source of carbon and energy coming from phospholipids, Mycoplasma pneumoniae thrives on lung epithelia. In Mycoplasma pneumoniae, pathogenicity is closely related to carbon metabolism. By testing carbon sources in well plates and growth curves to analyze how growth is affected in Mycoplasma pneumoniae and measure optical density, carbon source effectiveness may be better understood. The hypothesis of this study is that other carbon sources similar to glycerol and glucose, such as mannose and sorbose, can be beneficial to the growth of Mycoplasma pneumoniae as well. With the use of well plates and culture flask, growth curves were developed to measure growth with optical density. Glucose and glycerol were shown to be carbon sources that were able to use by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, with carbon sources such as maltitol and xylitol showed positive results. The hypothesis in this study was shown to be not supported. While other carbon sources were able to be utilized by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, they were not as efficient as glucose and glycerol. Maltitol was a carbon source uncharacteristically grew with Mycoplasma pneumoniae. A two-way ANOVA that was done testing No Carbon Source against other carbon sources showed that glucose was the only carbon source that was significant. A two-way ANOVA of glucose against other carbon sources showed they were all significant, except for maltitol. It can be assumed with the data that hexose sugars, pentose sugars, and sugar alcohols that are similar to glucose and glycerol can be used by these lung bacteria. In turn, theoretically these carbon sources can be used to develop alternate treatments to treat afflictions that infect the lungs. In time, these carbon sources can be possibly be used to counter diseases and difficulties caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae.