Brewer’s yeast could become the official state microbe of Oregon

Lindsay Jolivet
Daily Buzz
Studies show craft brewing industry growing in the U.S.

Oregon is on its way to adopting a new symbol of which Canadians can heartily approve: brewer's yeast.

According to Popular Science, the Oregon legislature has voted unanimously in favour of approving the yeast used in beer brewing as its state microbe. The Senate must also approve the choice before the state officially selects its microbial mascot.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a big-business microbe for the state, which has a craft brewing industry that generates about $2.4 billion in revenue each year, according to the magazine.

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While this type of legislation generally passes without issue, debates about such symbols have become controversial in the past, the Columbian reports, citing the example of a proposal to elect the Marionberry as the state berry. Another type of berry grower objected and the Marionberry was forced to carry on its humdrum, normal berry existence.

“Is there any other microbe that anybody else likes better than this one that is in competition with your microbe?” the newspaper quoted from a statement in the House by Rep. Vicki Berger of Salem.

Brewer's yeast appears to be the microbe winner.

At least it isn't a disease, unlike microbes that might arise in connection with other states, according to Microbe Magazine.

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Examples provided in a 2010 letter by Joan W. Bennett to the magazine, drawn from research or geographical prominence, included Lyme disease for Connecticut, gonorrhea for Nevada and on the city level, the microbe that produces Botox for Los Angeles.