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J. Harry Caufield

I was looking into background literature today for a class I'm assisting with this coming Spring. The class deals with the mosquito gut microbiome and its relevance to malaria transmission, an issue relevant to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. A paper in the Journal of Medical Entomology caught my eye, mostly because it's another case of "I've never heard of that genus or species before!" The species in question is the Gram-negative Elizabethkingia meningoseptica and these folks found it in the midgut of Anopheles stephensi, a mosquito known to be a vector for the malaria parasite. E. meningoseptica not only appears to have antimicrobial properties but has a toxic effect on malaria parasites as well (in vitro, at least).

This bacterial species isn't newly discovered but it's been known by other names. It's been in the genus Flavobacterium and in Chryseobacterium previously. It's been associated with soft tissue infections, even among immunocompetent individuals (but hey, all kinds of species can become opportunistic under the right conditions).

Here's that mosquito paper:
Ngwa CJ, Glöckner V, Abdelmohsen UR, Scheuermayer M, Fischer R, Hentschel U, Pradel G. 2013. 16S rRNA Gene-Based Identification of Elizabethkingia meningoseptica (Flavobacteriales: Flavobacteriaceae) as a Dominant Midgut Bacterium of the Asian Malaria Vector Anopheles stephensi (Dipteria: Culicidae) With Antimicrobial Activities. J. Med. Entomol. 50:404–414.