Original document was submitted as an honors thesis requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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The current use of antibiotics is very excessive in multiple settings, from treating patients to being present in cleaning products. This overuse of antibiotics is resulting in multiple consequences, ranging from having a negative impact on human health to breeding antibiotic-resistant strains of microorganisms. Antimicrobial surfaces are useful today to aid in sterilization, especially in the medical setting. This would help prevent the spread of infection of microorganisms in these settings. In our research, agarose acts as the antimicrobial surface and essential oils would act as the solution incorporated into the surface that has the antimicrobial properties. Agarose is a polysaccharide that derives from red algae. It forms long chains and has charged groups linked to it, like sulfate. These residues are responsible for many of agarose’s properties, such as electroendosmosis, which allows it to undergo gel electrophoresis. Thirty-three essential oils tested against bacteria to see if they had any antimicrobial properties. Many of them have historical uses that include as a medicine to treat infections. To create the agarose plates, agarose powder and the solvent heat up to dissolve. The solution went into the plates and multiple essential oils underwent testing for antimicrobial properties by the dispersion of the oils in the plates. Bacteria inoculated the plates and they grew. The results show that of the thirty-three oils tested, oregano, clove, ginger, lemongrass, and frankincense have antimicrobial properties. Of these oils, oregano, clove, and lemongrass have similar results to others in the same field. Ginger and frankincense oils did not have as much research conducted on their antimicrobial properties to determine, so these experiments helped bring new information about these oils to light. Essential oils can help bring natural products to medicine where natural products are rarely used. Future research on this topic can help us determine more essential oils that can be used and more ways these oils can work in a medical setting.