Scientists in Brazil have found two new species of fermenting yeasts and named them after journalist Dom Phillips and activist Bruno Pereira, the two men murdered last year in the Amazon rainforest.
The discovery came from four isolates of the Spathaspora species, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.
Both species are able to convert d-xylose into ethanol and xylitol, a kind of natural sweetener that could be used for diabetics or for other biotechnological applications, said Carlos Augusto Rosa, one of the study’s authors.
Rosa said that even though the Amazon rainforest is home to 10% of the planet’s biodiversity, much of it remains undiscovered and that percentage is even higher in the field of yeasts.
Between 30% and 50% of all new yeast micro-organisms found in the Brazilian regions where he and his colleagues work are new to science, he said.