New to science: September 2016

Posted on October 12, 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.

A team of researchers from China has discovered a novel Actinobacterium in the mouths of Chinese cobras, which is one of the most common venomous snakes in Hong Kong. They name the species Tsukamurella serpentis. Elsewhere in China, another team has isolated the Proteobacterium Paracoccus acridae from the Chinese grasshopper. The insect was captured from a deserted cropland, crushed, and put on an agar medium for colonies to grow.

Some of of my favourites this month came from animals with fantastic names. Campylobacter geochelonis was isolated from the western Hermann’s tortoise (Latin nameTestudo hermanni hermanni). The new bacterial species Neisseria musculi came from the oral cavity of a wild house mouse. And the bacterium Lutimaribacter marinisteallae came from an unidentified organism, referred to simply as ‘a starfish of China’.

As always, there have been some microbial discoveries in remote and far-flung places around the world. The Ross Sea is a bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica, and the source of a novel species of bacterium, Pseudoalteromonas neustonica, which was isolated from the sea surface by microbiologists from China.

Meanwhile, strains of the yeast Yamadazyma barbieri were found in two very different marine habitats by an international group. The first was living 2,300m below the surface, around a hydrothermal vent of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The second was found in water samples off a beach in Rio de Janerio.

To finish this month’s post, some finds from the plant kingdom. Endophytes are bacteria that reside within the living tissues of plants without harming them. A team of Chinese scientists have identified Flexivirga endophytica living inside a leaf of sweet basil. And, on a similarly culinary note, researchers from the US have discovered the new bacterial species Acinetobacter lactucae from iceberg lettuce.

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