New Jersey gets official state microbe: Streptomyces griseus

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A microorganism that played a role in treating tuberculosis is now officially recognized as New Jersey’s state microbe.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill Friday giving the distinction to Streptomyces (strep-toh-MY’-seez) griseus (GREE’-say-us).

The microbe was discovered in New Jersey soil in 1916.

In 1943, researchers from Rutgers University used the microbe to create the antibiotic streptomycin.

Tuberculosis death rates in the U.S. plummeted. They fell from about 194 deaths per 100,000 people in 1900 to about 9 deaths per 100,000 people in 1955.

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Rutgers researcher Selman Waksman was awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering the microbe and creating the antibiotic.

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