Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Biology


Bisi T. Velayudhan

Pradeep V. Menon

Oliver J. Hyman


Dietary ingredients can influence the mucosal surface morphology and mucosal immunity of the gastrointestinal tract. Additional health concerns and behavioral changes have been attributed to the consumption of foods containing preservatives and additives. Sodium benzoate (SB) is a commonly used bacteriostatic in food and beverages. This study investigates the effects of SB on the gut bacteria and mucosal health in the gastrointestinal tract of laboratory mice. The extent of lymphocytic infiltration in intestinal villi and granular density of Paneth cells in the ileum were used as evaluators of mucosal immunity. Adult C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned to two groups. The control group (n=14) and SB treated group (n=15) received standard rodent chow. The SB treated group received 1% SB treated water. Food and water were available to animals ad libitum for the experimental period of 30 days. Animals were monitored for body weight and food/water intake. Ileal samples for histological evaluation and caecal contents for microbial analyses were collected at the end of the experimental period. Paneth cell granular density and lymphocytic infiltration into the lamina propria were evaluated by double blind scoring systems on a scale from 1-4. Culture and PCR analysis from pooled samples (n=6 control, n=6 SB) were used to determine the effects of SB treatment on the presence and prevalence of target species of gut bacteria. Statistical significance was declared at pBacteroidetes and Firmicutes decreased while Enterobacter increased in relative abundance. In conclusion, SB consumption may influence gut microbial population and mucosal immunity in murine species. Further studies should be conducted to better understand the mechanisms and long-term effects and SB on the body.



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