New microbes discovered in the siberian tundra, medicinal plants and air conditioning systems

Posted on March 12, 2019   by Matt Bassett

Each month, the Microbiology Society publishes the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM), which details newly discovered species of bacteria, fungi and protists. Here are some of the new species that have been discovered and the places they’ve been found.

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This month, a group of researchers in China found not one, but three new microbes in the faeces of Tibetan Antelopes (Pantholops hodgsonii). The samples were collected from the Quinghai-Tibet plateau, and the researchers were able to isolate Streptococcus chenjunshii, Mycetocola zhujimingii and Salinibacterium hongtaonis. There fewer than 150,000 mature Tibetan antelope in the wild as they were extensively hunted for their extremely soft, light and warm underfur known as shahtoosh, meaning ‘king of fine wools’.

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© Ming Keung Tam/iStock Tibetan Antelope (Patholops hodgsonii)

Forest soils were also a source of new bacteria this month, scientists in the subtropical Guangdong Province in China discovered Paraburkholderia telluris and further north in Siberia researchers isolated Granulicella sibirica from soils in the forested tundra. G. sibirica is a new species of psychotolerant acidobaterium, meaning it can only grow in low temperatures.

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© Fantastic Geographic/iStock Siberian Tundra

Achaea are known for living in the planet’s more inhospitable environments. Researchers in Russia isolated Halococcoides cellulosivorans from hypersaline lakes. H. cellulosivorans is an extreme halophile, able to grow in a salinity range from 2.5 to 5 M NaCl, 2-8 times the salinity of sea water. Due to its unique properties, scientists have classified Halococcoides as a new genus.

Bacteria from the genus Streptacidiphilus are often found in acidic soils and play a significant ecological role in organic matter turnover. They are also a well-documented source of antifungal compounds. This month, researchers discovered a novel species from the genus, which they have named Streptacidiphilus bronchialis, in the lungs of an 80-year-old male patient in Tennessee.

Researchers in China isolated Nocardoides ferulae, a new species of endophytic bacterium, from the root of endangered medicinal plant Ferula songorica (also known as Ferular soongarica). F. songorica is used in the treatment of headaches, colds and stomach aches.

A group of researchers have also discovered Roseicella frigidaeris in Korea. R. frigidaeris is part of the family Acetobacteraceae, members of the family have been found in a diverse range of habitats including alcohol, hot springs, stream sediments, and acidic coils. But R. frigideaeris was isolated from a laboratory air-conditioning system in Chung-Ang University.

The full papers describing these species are available to journal subscribers, but the abstracts are free to read. Articles can also be purchased individually with the pay-per-view option.