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Hawaii, Other States Calling Dibs On Official State Bacteria

State legislators like to claim official symbols for nearly everything. There are state birds, state dinosaurs, even a state question (New Mexico's “Red or green?”). The South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato is both Arkansas's official fruit and its vegetable. Nebraska’s official drink is water. And Maryland's official state sport is jousting, while its state exercise is walking.

But state pride may have officially gone too far with the latest trend: symbolic state microbes.

Last year, Oregon became the first state to recognize its microbe, brewer’s yeast. Wisconsin almost did it in 2010 with Lactococcus lactis, the bacteria vital in producing cheddar cheese. And there’s been talk of Los Angeles honoring a “city microbe”: Clostridium botulinum, or Botox.

But not all microbe choices are so cut and dry.

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