Buzzes and Berries: Impact on Lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans

by Emily Nielsen, Sarah Larson, and Justin Bandy
Faculty advisor: Dr. James Hampton

Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has served as a model organism for the study of development, aging, and various other biological processes for the past thirty years. Our research examines the change in lifespan and fecundity of a normal adult worm in its response to varying concentrations of ethanol, proline, Vitamin E, and acai berry extract. Although ethanol is often thought to shorten lifespan in humans, its effects upon lifespan in C. elegans has received only modest attention. On the other hand, Vitamin E and acai berry have both been suggested to improve health and extend lifespan in humans. Proline has recently been shown to increase catalase activity in baker’s yeast. We have capitalized upon the short life cycle of C. elegans to ask whether these compounds have beneficial effects on this model organism.