New to science: August 2016

Posted on September 6, 2016   by Anand Jagatia

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 a few of the new species that have been discovered and the places they’ve been found. The full papers are available to journal subscribers, but the abstracts are free to read.

Goodbye summer. Well, goodbye meteorological summer, which is based on the calendar. Astronomical summer, which is based on the movements of the Earth, doesn’t end until 22 September – so make the most of it.

The August issue of IJSEM is chock-full of microbes from interesting organisms and places –including the human body. Researchers from Germany have isolated the bacterium Prevotella colorans from a wound in a 77-year-old patient. And a team from the USA have discovered a new species from human abscesses, which they name Lawsonella clevelandensis.

In the animal word, wild boars roaming the Apennine Mountains near Bologna, Italy, are the source of a new Helicobacter bacterium. Researchers from Belgium and Italy analysed the gut microbes of wild boars that were culled there, and found Helicobacter apri, bacteria that look like tightly coiled spirals.

My favourite discovery this month: Japanese researchers have isolated the new species Vibrio algivorus from the gut flora of a turban shell marine snail. The Latin name for this snail is Turbo cornutus, which is adorable because snails are famously very slow creatures.  

Three new species from the farmyard this month. Anaerotaenia torta and Anaerocolumna cellulosilytica bacteria were isolated from a reactor that generates methane from cattle waste, by a group of Japanese microbiologists. And Jeotgalicoccus schoeneichii was discovered by German scientists, in the exhaust air of a barn at a pig-fattening plant.

Meanwhile, in China, a team of scientists have isolated the bacterium Dickeya fangzhongdai from the pear tree Pyrus pyrifolia. The species is a pathogen of plants, causing ‘bleeding canker’, a devastating disease of pear trees first observed in China in the 1970s.

Lastly for this post, another team from Japan has isolated a bacterium that is able to degrade and assimilate PET, the plastic used to make drinks bottles. The researchers found the new species, Ideonella sakaiensis, at a bottle recycling facility in Sakai city.