Episode Summary

Bacteria produce antifungal compounds that can protect paper from fungal deterioration!

Microbe of the episode

Microbe of the episode: Acetobacter aceti

Jesse's takeaways

Paper is a very useful information storage medium, but it is also somewhat delicious for microbes that can break it down as food, degrade the quality, and cause indelible stains and discoloration under the right conditions. Preventing this usually requires careful control, such as keeping humidity low, for storing paper for long periods.

In this study, scientists tested the ability of the bacterium Lysobacter enzymogenes to protect paper via the antifungal compounds it produces. This first required filtering out the pigments that the bacteria produced, to prevent them from discoloring the paper. Once a method for this filtering was in place, they found the bacterial culture supernatant could significantly reduce fungal growth on various kinds of paper, and protect the paper from staining and degradation.

Journal Paper

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