New to science: August 2013

KingfisherEach month, the Society for General Microbiology publishes the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 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.

Common kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) are awesome. In fact they’re probably my second favourite bird (after the osprey, Pandion haliaetus). This month, researchers from Brno, Czech Republic, have identified two strains of a new species of bacteria, Enterococcus alcedinis sp. nov., which were isolated from swabs taken from kingfisher nestlings living beside rivers in the centre of the country. This work is part of a project investigating the microbial community of free-living birds.

Researchers in Japan have isolated two new speciesStreptococcus orisasini sp. nov. and Streptococcus dentasini sp. nov. – from the mouths of donkeys living in a zoo. Streptococci are common members of animal mouth microbiomes, with some species involved in tooth decay. The group behind this work are particularly prolific in discovering bacteria of this type, having previously identified new species of streptococci from the mouths of pigs, bats, wild boar and bears.

Leeches have been used for thousands of years in medicine to treat a huge variety of ailments. Now, these worms are being used to restore circulation after organ reattachment surgery. The skin of the leech Hirudo verbena also turns out to be home to Flavobacterium cutihirudinis sp. nov., a new species isolated at a leech farm in Biebertal, Germany, in 2010.

This issue of IJSEM sees many new species of bacteria isolated from colder climes. Researchers from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, India, have isolated Paenisporosarcina indica sp. nov. from soil near the Pindari glacier, and Iodobacter arcticus sp. nov. from meltwater stream sediment of the Midtre Lovénbreen Arctic glacier. Not to be outdone, researchers from China have isolated Cryobacterium levicorallinum sp. nov. a new species living in an ice sample collected from the Xinjiang region of the country.

This month’s edition of New to science has been very much above sea level. Let’s change all that and go 2,700 metres below the Pacific Ocean to the East Pacific Rise, where researchers from the Laboratoire de Microbiologie des Environnements Extrêmes, France, have isolated a new species of archaeon from a hydrothermal vent. Thermococcus prieurii sp. nov. was isolated in 2004 from a sample collected by the Nautile submersible. This new species grows best at 80° C, is an obligate anaerobe, and has been named in honour of Professor Daniel Prieur, a prominent researcher in the microbiology of extreme environments.

These are just a few of the new species described this month; you can see the full list at IJSEM. We’ll be back again next month with a host of new ones; look out for us then!

Benjamin Thompson

Image credit: Lip Kee on Flickr
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