New Bacterial Species Named after ARS
Scientist By Jan
Suszkiw March 5, 2009
Robinsoniella peoriensis is the name of a new bacterial species
discovered by Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) and cooperating scientists.
Scientists with the ARS
Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Ill., the
University of Oklahoma (UO) at
Norman, and the University of
Göteborg (UG) in Sweden concluded the bacterial species was new after
comparing its ribosomal gene, 16S rDNA, to other species and analyzing its
cellular fatty acids and other biochemical characteristics.
The team discovered R. peoriensis--named in honor of
microbiologist Isadore M. Robinson, formerly with ARS--while cataloging
microbial populations that inhabit swine manure and produce its offending odor.
Collecting such information can yield important clues for figuring out
new ways of diminishing the odors, according to microbiologist
Whitehead, with NCAUR's
Biotechnology Research Unit. One approach being studied there involves
using condensed tannins or other compounds to inhibit hog pit bacteria. Besides
smelling foul, the manure also emits gases like ammonia and methane that can be
Whitehead credits Robinson with pioneering studies on anaerobic
bacteria that aid digestion in the rumens of cows and sheep. Robinson conducted
his studies, beginning in 1957, at the ARS (then-named) Dairy Cattle Research
Branch in Beltsville, Md., and, after 1965, at the ARS
Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa. He retired there in 1987.
At Peoria, the team isolated five strains of R. peoriensis from
samples collected from a nearby hog farm. Coincidentally, the strains' 16S
sequence matched that of an isolate taken from a completely different
environment--the heel infection of a 79-year-old Swedish woman, according to a
Whitehead and co-authors
Cotta of NCAUR, Paul Lawson of UO, and Enevold Falsen and Edward Moore,
both of UG, recently reported on R. peoriensis in the International
Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. Their analysis of
data showed the five strains were virtually identical to one another, but
different enough from other anaerobes to warrant classification as a new genus.
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.