A bacterium found suitable for use in fermented foods and beverages will be named after Nicola Spurrier, South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer.
In a remarkable tribute to the exceptional work of SA Chief Public Health Officer, Nicola Spurrier, a newly discovered bacterium with potential applications in fermented foods and drinks has been bestowed with the name “Nicolia spurrieriana.” The recognition of Professor Spurrier’s unwavering dedication and science-based management strategy during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic led to this honor, signifying the profound impact of her efforts on the scientific community.
The naming process of the bacterium was not a simple task, as University of Adelaide Ph.D. student Scott Oliphant shared. It involved a meticulous and time-consuming procedure, necessitating the collaboration of a committee along with their supervisors. Brainstorming sessions were held to deliberate on a suitable name that would embody the significance of Professor Spurrier’s contributions. Moreover, the process required Latinization, ensuring a fitting and appropriate scientific nomenclature for the newfound bacterium, which added an extra layer of complexity.
The discovery of Nicolia spurrieriana was part of a broader research effort examining micro-organisms present on Australian stingless bees. Among the numerous species identified, this bacterium stood out due to its distinctive genetic characteristics. Compared to other lactic acid bacteria, Nicolia spurrieriana showcased a significantly larger genome and harbored specific genes not found in its counterparts. These unique attributes raised intriguing possibilities for its utilization in various fermentation processes.
The applications of this bacterium are undoubtedly diverse and exciting. It has the potential to revolutionize the realms of winemaking, bread-making, and pickling, providing new avenues for enhancing flavors and culinary experiences. Researchers are eager to explore its contributions to meal fermentation processes, particularly in the art of bread-making and the preparation of diverse pickled foods. Additionally, the bacterium’s possible role in winemaking is of particular interest, with the prospect of creating distinct and delightful flavors that cater to wine enthusiasts’ palates.
The acknowledgment of Professor Spurrier’s invaluable efforts through the christening of this bacterium exemplifies the symbiosis between the scientific community and public health officials. Her dedication to a science-based approach in managing the pandemic has left a lasting impact on researchers and experts alike. As the scientific world celebrates this remarkable find, the name “Nicolia spurrieriana” stands as a testament to the significance of science-driven strategies during critical times, inspiring continued exploration and innovation in diverse fields of study.