In April 2010, the state of Wisconsin declared Lactococcus lactis its official microbe. This makes perfect sense because the bacterium is crucial to cheese making, one of Wisconsin's signature enterprises. The announcement prompted Lauren Schenkman (2010) to ask researchers in other states what they might name as their "microbe mascots." The answers included Bradyrhizobium japonium, a symbiont in soybean roots that fixes nitrogen, thus saving Iowa farmers a lot on fertilizer, and Nesiotobacter exalbescens for Hawaii because it is only found in a single lagoon on one of the state's atolls, Laysan. Some researchers took another tack, suggesting bacteria that are more notorious than useful: Salmonella typhimurium for North Carolina, where hog farmers have to be constantly on the lookout for it; and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, a new visitor to Louisiana that arrived in Chinese-made drywall for rebuilding New Orleans...

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