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'Sparkly' bacteria a festive find for baffled Institute scientists

Bacterium are rarely described as festive, but The Institute of Environmental Science and Research have some across a sparkly variety.

The bacterium, along with a mystery fungus, has left the team of scientists scratching their heads.

They were found in a hot-water cylinder, while a team of scientists were looking for a pathogenic (disease causing) organism in a hot-water cylinder.

"We wanted to see if the source of the infection was a contaminant in the hot-water system and although we take lots of bacteria out of the water, this glistening green one was very unusual," he said.

The team's lead scientist, David Harte said usually the bacterium in these samples are much less impressive.

"The glistening green one was quite spectacular under the microscope, usual they're just matte brown and cream-coloured colonies.

The cause it's not known but Mr Harte suspected it might be due to the growth medium (plate,) the bacteria was placed on, which was quite colourful.

Mr Harte said the fungus, which has unusual characteristics, remains unknown as this stage.

"We see thousands of different organisms - from time to time we do see something out the ordinary, and its always interesting when something novel like these turn up," he said.

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