Scientists with the Costa Rican Institute of Technology (TEC) report the discovery of a new species of bacteria. “Listeria costaricensis” will be officially named the new species of bacteria identified by Johnny Peraza and Kattia Núñez with the Biotechnology Research Center of the TEC, in collaboration with scientists from the Pasteur Institute, based in Paris France, according to a TEC release (computer translated).

Costa Rica /CIA
Costa Rica /CIA

Listeria is a group of bacteria composed of 18 species, two of which are pathogenic (cause serious harm to humans and animals) and are acquired after consuming contaminated food.

Listeria monocytogenes, the most well-known pathogenic species, can cause meningitis, and in the case of pregnant women it causes serious affectations to the fetus and even in advanced gestation can cause abortion.

However, the type of Listeria found by TEC researchers is not harmful.

“The discovery of Listeria costaricensis will allow comparisons with the pathogenic species of Listeria to study new components that may have, to better understand the behavior and adaptation of these pathogens,” explained the biotechnologist, Kattia Núñez.

Even one of the hypotheses of scientists, says that the newly discovered bacteria, by surviving adverse environmental conditions, could lead to the discovery of new molecules; for example, antibiotics that could save the lives of millions of people affected by bacterial infections.

“We want to create a precedent, and as TEC we have to generate information and knowledge that is useful for the new generations,” added Núñez.

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The discovery of “Listeria costaricensis” was made from water collected from an industrial drainage in the province of Alajuela, after three years of sample collection and research.

The bacterium was recognized internationally after a genetic identification carried out in collaboration with the National Reference Center of Listeriosis of the Pasteur Institute with headquarters in Paris.

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“In Costa Rica there is little research on microbiological diversity, despite this discovery reflects the great diversity of the genus Listeria and evidence that in Costa Rica there is a fertile ground for this type of research.” Javier Pizarro-Cerda, Director of Research at the Pasteur Institute.

The new “Listeria costaricensis” was already registered and stored in the collections of microorganisms of the Institute located in Paris and in the DSMZ, in Germany; likewise, its description was published in the prestigious International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Listeria bacteria
Listeria monocytogenes/CDC