Seriously? New Jersey poised to name official state microbe

David Madden
August 04, 2018 - 11:48 pm



NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey is well on the way to naming an official state microbe, and proponents insist the designation is long overdue. 

Streptomyces griseus kills bacteria that leads to a lot of deadly diseases and has saved lives for 75 years. It was discovered at Rutgers, leading microbiologist Max Haggblom and many of his students to push for the designation.

"Microbes are vitally important to life on earth and to naturally the industry of New Jersey," Haggblom said. "Think about the pharmaceutical industry where microbes play a major role with antibiotics, biotechnology, drugs and so on."

The state senate adopted the plan unanimously and it awaits assembly action.

"This is, of course, a major discovery with the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis, one of the major plagues on earth," Haggblom added. "When they then heard and realized that this happened at Rutgers University in New Jersey, this is something that we should be proud of and tell others about as well."

Getting something like this done is not easy. Only one other state, Oregon, has an official microbe used in brewer's yeast.

 Attempts to honor bacteria used in making cheese in Wisconsin and two different microbes found in Hawaii failed.