National scientists discovered a new bacterium called Listeria costaricensis. The species was identified by Johnny Peraza and Kattia Núñez, from the Biotechnology Research Center of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC). They had the collaboration of the Pasteur Institute, based in Paris, France.
The scientists made the discovery in collected water of an industrial drainage in Alajuela. The bacterium was recognized internationally after a genetic identification carried out in collaboration with the National Reference Center of Listeriosis of the Pasteur Institute.
Listeria is a group of bacteria composed of 18 species. Two of them cause harm to humans and other animals. They are acquired when consuming contaminated food. Listeria monocytogenes is the most well-known pathogenic species, it can cause meningitis, and in the case of pregnant women it can even cause an abortion. But the type of Listeria found by TEC researchers is not harmful.
The biotechnologist Kattia Núñez assured that the discovery of Listeria costaricensis will allow to make comparisons with the pathogenic species of Listeria to study new components. This will help better understand the behavior and adaptation of organisms.
In addition, researchers hypothesize that the species discovered can survive adverse environmental conditions. They believe that it could lead to the discovery of new molecules, such as antibiotics that could save the lives of millions of people affected by bacterial infections.
In Costa Rica there is little research on microbiological diversity. Despite this, this discovery reflects the great diversity of the genus Listeria and shows that in Costa Rica there is a fertile ground for this type of research,”
added Javier Pizarro-Cerda, director of Research at the Pasteur Institute, currently head of the Unit of Research in Yersinia.
The bacterium Listeria costaricensis has already been registered and stored in the collections of microorganisms of the Institute located in Paris and in the DSMZ, in Germany. Its description was published in the prestigious International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.
According to the press release sent, at present it is not possible to know how many bacteria have been discovered in Costa Rica, since there is no catalog in the country.
The Pasteur Institute signed a cooperation agreement with TEC, something unprecedented in Central America. The agreement will allow TEC scientists to be trained in topics such as molecular biology, bioinformatics and genomics.
Another important point is the issue of financing. For example, when we seek funding with international organizations to conduct research, it is not the same to ask in the name of TEC that in conjunction with Pasteur Institute. This will make the process of finding resources easier,”
explained Miguel Rojas, coordinator of the Biotechnology Research Center.
The Pasteur Institute is a specialized laboratory with more than 130 years of experience. Its objective is to contribute to the prevention and treatment of diseases, especially infectious diseases.