Recovery of strains from the Elizabeth McCoy stocks
The chance that any strain in the McCoy stocks is of commercial value relative to strains already available is low at best and probably zero in my opinion. Certain strains that were used commercially for butanol production and are now either absent or under-represented in public collections (D. Jones, personal communication) may be recovered for their historic value. Other strains of interest for general studies may include C. madisonii A16 and its phageR derivative A140, A5 and A65 the Wingradsky C. pasteurianum strain, B15 once in public collections but maybe lost, A78 isolated from limburger cheese by H. Weigmann, A102‑A104 marked "Pinks" (pigmented?), and the Dorthy Reid isolates. Ultimately I hope to deposit some strains in a public collection and find a suitable institution to assume custody of the stocks.
Based on brief testing conducted by myself in 2014 with ten stocks, a success rate of 50% or higher from dried soil should be achievable in 2‑4 week‑old cultures. Cultures that do not germinate in the short term will be held for a year to allow for what McCoy and Hastings termed "delayed dormancy" (1), possibly similar to what Ghosh et al. later termed "superdormancy" (2). Halvorson in a 1997 review (3) cited multiple studies estimating the long‑term half-life of bacterial spores at about 50 years up to the first 100 years of storage, and longer thereafter.
Exploring Ketogulonicigenium biological traits and isolation methods
The genus name "Ketogulonicigenium" (Ketogulonigenium) has appeared in the title of more than 40 research publications since 2001 (1). Despite this attention little knowledge exists about Ketogulonicigenium beyond its initial description (2) and from studies focused upon its industrial utility (3). Complete genomes have been published for K. robustum and multiple strains of K. vulgare. These have provided some insight, but again with functional emphasis mainly on industrial utility. The aims of this project are to expand upon knowledge of Ketogulonicigenium through lab experimentation guided by genome analysis and consideration of related genera, and secondarily to devise improved isolation methods for Ketogulonicigenium.
Bacteriophages of solvent-forming Clostridium species
A student project at the University of Michigan yielded a half-dozen bacteriophage isolates from compost enrichments. At least four different plaque morphologies were displayed among the isolates while growing on lawns of C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 as the host. The project ended before the phages could be fully characterized. The project will be resumed and expanded at Microbe Research.
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