A mysterious bacterium with a surprisingly seasonal sparkle has turned up in ESR’s environmental microbiology lab.

The bacterium, along with an unknown fungus, has had the science team scratching their heads after the unknown arrivals were found lurking in a water sample from a domestic hot water cylinder.

In a marked display of difference, the bacterium appeared to fluoresce green when viewed under white light.

The team’s lead scientist, David Harte, says that’s a very unusual characteristic, “although we do see some bacteria fluoresce when exposed to UV light”.

Meanwhile, the fungus, which has unusual colony morphology, remains unknown as this stage, although Mr Harte says he’s confident they’ll work out what this is too.

 “At ESR we see thousands of different organisms – from time to time we do see something out the ordinary, and it’s always interesting when something novel like these turn up,” Mr Harte says.


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Gael Woods