Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Douglas R. Lewis, PhD.


Although not an extremophile, Deinococcus radiodurans has proven to have exceptional resistance to ionizing radiation, specifically via gamma and X-ray photons. To date, no known experiments have bombarded the bacterium with charged particles larger than hydrogen. This study explored the effects on the organism’s ability to survive high linear energy transfer heavy-charged particle exposures of oxygen ions. It also investigated the effects of low linear energy transfer ultraviolet radiation on various mutants. Two uvrB mutants were created to ascertain the importance of the gene in single-strand break repair following gamma irradiation and two recF mutants were created to explore the role of the gene in double-strand break repair. The samples were desiccated to decrease the probability of indirect DNA damage. Following exposure the samples were rehydrated and counted. Comparisons were made against control samples and statistical differences were evaluated through a two population t-statistic test. The uvrB mutants displayed greater lethality than the wild type control and other mutants to gamma exposure and the recF mutants clearly experienced growth latency and greater lethality following oxygen ion exposure.

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