Luis A. Materon, Ph.D.

Luis A. Materon, Ph.D.Luis A. Materon, Ph. D.
SCI 1.344 (Office)
Office: (956) 665-7140
Research Field


General Microbiology (BIOL3401)
Medical Microbiology & Immunology (BIOL3303)
Molecular Virology (BIOL4413/5404)


Ph.D. Microbiology. Mississippi State University. 1982.
M. S. Microbiology. New South Wales University. Australia. 1977
B. S. Agronomy. Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Areas of Interest

Nitrogen fixation, Rhizobium, legumes, soil fertility, strain selection, competition, nodulation.

Food microbiology, Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria, coliforms, fruit and vegetable contamination, lactic acid, aqueous chlorine, disinfectants.


Nitrogen Fixation

Symbiotic root nodulating bacteria, commonly known as rhizobia, have great environmental and agricultural importance since their symbiosis with legumes supplies the plant partner with biologically fixed nitrogen. Therefore effectively leguminous plants may show increased yields without the application of costly industrially produced nitrogen fertilizer. The primary aim of current research is to increase the application of biological nitrogen fixation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley agriculture in southern Texas. To achieve this aim, two main research areas have been identified: Strain collection from all agricultural areas, strain competitiveness with indigenous rhizobia and their long term persistence in soil. A taxonomic characterization of bacterial symbionts from agronomically and ecologically important legumes is necessary to determine the extent of the diversity of rhizobial populations. Such data, together with studies on strain competition for nodulation, can subsequently increase biomass production and soil fertility.

Food Microbiology

Fruits and vegetables when not handled properly can serve as vehicles for microorganisms that cause product spoilage and human disease. Coliform bacteria, including faecal coliforms, are frequently associated with fresh produce. In our lab, we are currently investigating several combination of disinfectants (lactic acid, Tsunami, and aqueous chlorine), surfactants (Tergitol), exposure times and temperature, in an attempt to obtain a more effective antimicrobial activity on pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli O157:H7. We are interested in fruit and vegetable locally grown and in the development of rapid detection kits to test produce imported from Mexico. Another aim is to identify sources of contamination from collection to packing in industrial sheds.

Most Recent Publications

M. Li, J. Wang, Qi Zhan, L. Lin, A. Kuang, L. Materon, X.Ji. and Y. Wei.  2015. Isolation and Characterization of the Lytic Cold-Active Bacteriophage MYSP06 from the Mingyong Glacier in China. Current Microbiology. DOI 10.1007/s00284-015-0926-3. Vol. 71(6)  1-8 p.

Xu, F., B. Weng, R. Gilkerson, L.A. Materon, and K. Lozano. 2015. Development of tannic acid/chitosan/pollulan composite nanofibers from aqueous solution for potential applications as wound dressing. Carbohydrate Polymers 115:16-24.

Minhut, D., K. Lozano, L.A. Materon, W. Zhao, and C. Crisan. 2013. Surface functionalization of nylon-6 nanofibers by thermal evaporated silver thin films and antibacterial performance. Soc. Vacuum Coaters, ISSN 0737-5921.

Popescu, B.M., N. Ali, G. Basturea, G.I. Comsa, L.A. Materon, M. Chipara. 2013. 1-Dimensional nanoparticles - A brief review on biological, medical, and toxicological aspects. Applied Surface Science 273:2-6.

Martinez, M.A., K. Das, S. Saikolappan, L. A. Materon and S. Dhandayuthapani. 2013. A serine/threonine phosphatase encoded by MG_207 of Mycoplasma genitalium is critical for its virulence. BioMed Central Microbiology 13:44.

Altuntas E.V., D. Kocan, S. Cosansu, K. Ayhan, V.K. Juneja and L.A. Materon. 2012. Antibiotic and bacteriocin sensitivity of Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from different foods. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 3:363-368.

Website on Latest Project

Birds of Colombia

Curriculum Vitae