The First (And Presently Only) U.S. State With An Official Microbe Is?
You might have heard of official state flowers, animals, or even minerals, but the state of Oregon stands alone in having an official microbe. Why an official microbe? Because one particularly special microbe played a particularly special role in helping make Oregon internationally known.
The microbe in question is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or brewer’s (a.k.a. baker’s) yeast. A bill was introduced in 2013 to declare it the state microbe for its role in the fermentation of alcohol, specifically because of the thriving craft beer brewing movement. The Pacific Northwest is a hotbed of craft brewing with the beer culture of Oregon being the most active in the area by far.
A handful of other states have jumped on the microbe bandwagon over the years, the most notable of which is Wisconsin where, naturally, their proposed (but not yet adopted) microbe of choice is Lactococcus lactis, which is critical to the dairy industry and the production of cheese.
Image by Mogana Das Murtey and Patchamuthu Ramasamy/Wikimedia.