Higher order taxa
Eubacteria (Kingdom); Bacteria (Domain); Actinobacteria (Phylum); Actinobacteria (Class); Actinobacteridae (Subclass); Actinomycetales (Order); Micrococcineae (Family); Microbacteriaceae (Subfamily); Microbacterium (Genus)
Description and Significance
Microbacterium hatanonis is an aerobic, gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium recently isolated in multiple brands of hairspray. Originally thought to be a known Microbacterium species, 16S rRNA sequencing revealed that M. hatanonis is evolutionarily distinct from all formerly isolated organisms. Chemotaxanomic, physiological and morphological testing corroborated the genomic data.
M. hatanonis has a GC content of 69% and a 98% similarity in the 16S rRNA sequence to all other known organisms in the Microbacterium genus. Since M. hatanonis has only recently been isolated, very little genomic data has been published.
Cell structure and Metabolism
M. hatanonis is Gram-positive, aerobic and rod-shaped. It is negative for oxidase and positive for catalase. Ornithine can be isolated from the cell-wall hydrolysate; rhamnose and galactose comprise the cell-wall sugars. The isolate grows best at 30 degrees Celsius, and a neutral pH. Members of this class do not ferment, and exhibit a purely respiratory metabolism. They can utilize various nucleic acids and some pesticides as substrates for anabolic purposes.
Thus far, M. hatanonis has been isolated only from various brands of commercially produced hairspray. Hairspray is composed of polymers such as polyvinylpyrrolidine and polydimethylsiloxane. These polymers are suspended in a solvent; usually alcohol or hydrocarbons. Researchers are still unsure which hairspray ingredient carries M. hatanonis, or if perhaps the bacterium contaminates the spray in an airborne form, and proliferates due to specific habitability. It is likely that one of the polymeric ingredients is the original contaminant.
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2. Baker. "Microbacterium hatanonis sp. nov., isolated as a contaminant of hairspray." International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology 58 (2008): 654-58.
3. ScienceDaily 9 March 2008. 8 December 2008 <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080307110337.htm>.
4. Senese, Fred. "What is hairspray made of?" General Chemistry. 31 July 2007. 7 Dec. 2008 <http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/consumer/faq/hairspray-ingredients.shtml>.