Scientists in Brazil have discovered two new species of fermenting yeasts and named them after journalist Dom Phillips and activist Bruno Pereira, the 2 males murdered final yr within the Amazon rainforest.
The invention got here from 4 isolates of the Spathaspora species, in keeping with a paper revealed within the Worldwide Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.
Each species are capable of convert d-xylose into ethanol and xylitol, a form of pure sweetener that might be used for diabetics or for different biotechnological purposes, stated Carlos Augusto Rosa, one of many examine’s authors.
Rosa stated that although the Amazon rainforest is dwelling to 10% of the planet’s biodiversity, a lot of it stays undiscovered and that proportion is even larger within the subject of yeasts.
Between 30% and 50% of all new yeast micro-organisms discovered within the Brazilian areas the place he and his colleagues work are new to science, he stated.
“Therefore the significance of analysis on this space and in addition of Bruno and Dom’s efforts to protect the area’s biome,” Rosa stated.
Naming the species after the 2 late figures “recognises, values and pays tribute to the pair for his or her work in defence of the setting”, he stated.
The analysis paper studies that the 2 yeasts had been obtained from rotting wooden collected in two completely different websites of the Amazonian forest within the state of Pará.
“The identify Spathaspora brunopereirae sp nov is proposed to accommodate these isolates,” it says.
“The opposite two isolates had been obtained from a area of transition between the Amazonian forest and the Cerrado ecosystem within the state of Tocantins. The identify Spathaspora domphillipsii sp nov is proposed for this novel species.”
The paper was authored by 11 microbiologists working collectively from three universities in Minas Gerais state, Tocantins state, and Western Ontario, Canada.
Phillips and Pereira had been murdered in June final yr whereas they had been travelling down a river within the Javari Valley, close to Brazil’s border with Peru.
Phillips, a former freelancer for the Guardian and the Washington Submit, was engaged on a guide about sustainable growth within the Amazon and Pereira, a longtime advocate for indigenous rights, was with him as a information and native activist.
4 males are in jail accused of ordering or collaborating within the crime.
Phillips and Pereira be a part of a protracted checklist of well-known individuals to have crops or animals named after them. 1000’s of latest species are recognized yearly and those that uncover them usually give them novel names.
Beyoncé was given the honour after the invention of an Australian horsefly; a blood-sucking crustacean parasite was christened Gnathia marleyi in tribute to reggae star Bob Marley; and a beetle was named after environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg in 2019.
In 2001, scientists named a species of mushroom Spongiforma squarepantsii after the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.