Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Lytton J. Musselman

Committee Member

Kneeland K. Nesius

Committee Member

Rebecca D. Bray

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 S335 2014


Pistacia eurycarpa Yalt. is a wild relative of pistachio (P. vera L.} that grows in the Zagros Mountains. For the Kurds who inhabit these mountains the tree has practical and cultural applications. All parts of this tree have a use, for structural materials, food, and medicine. While weII known in this region, the ethnobotany of P. eurycarpa is unknown in the outside world. I spent May and June of 2011 - 2013 in Sulaimani, Kurdistan, Iraq, collecting information on this tree. In this time period I was able to witness the harvest of unripe fruits. Information about the tree in other seasons comes from interviews with locals involved in the harvest and use of the products of P. eurycarpa, as well as from experts on the local flora.

The tree's utility spans a wide range, from food (fruits} to medicine (resin and leaves} to craft materials (fruits}. In order to test medicinal claims, I analyzed the alcohol-soluble fraction of the resin to identify any compounds that are known to be anti-bacterial, while also testing the dissolved resin against three human pathogens (Escherichia coli (Migula} Castellani & Chalmers, Staphylococcus aureus Rosenbach, and Streptococcus sanguinis White and Niven}. The composition of the resin was resolved by gas chromatography mass spectrometry, finding it to be primarily a-pinene (98%} with a few other minor terpenoids. Disk diffusion tests of the bacteria showed a small, nonsignificant effect against Staph. aureus and no effect against E. coli and Strep. sanguinis.


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