Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 2:36 pm
Credit Elly Blue/via Flickr
A humble creature that has long toiled in obscurity for the benefit of humankind is poised to win a small measure of the distinction it deserves: designation as Oregon's official state microbe.
It looks to be the first microbe to gain official state recognition.
The microbe in question, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, plays a key role in the state's economy. Without it, sugar would not become alcohol, and Oregon would not have a craft beer industry worth $2.4 billion.
Its state bird is a Western Meadowlark. Its state tree is Douglas Fir. Now Oregon wants a state microbe. Saccharomyces cerevisiae - try saying that twice - is a kind of yeast used in beer. And State Representative Mark Johnson thinks making it Oregon's official microbe is a great way to celebrate the state's craft beer industry. Oregon is also proud of its wine. A type of dirt that's used to grow pinot noire grapes is the state's official soil.