Make a Puss Noise Here: New, Hybrid Acne-Causing Bacteria, P. Acnes Zappae, Named After Frank Zappa

By Ian Holubiak on Feb 23, 2014 12:53 AM EST

How fitting for the late Frank Zappa to maintain his legacy of genre-bending fukitol by having his name attached to an acne-causing bacteria.

Said bacterial name: P. Acnes Zappae.

And like the Barking Pumpkin, himself, it's a unique strain able to transmit itself from human to, well, grapevines.

No, this isn't flippant drivel, says Italian researchers.

According to microbiologist and long-time Zappa fanatic Andrea Campisano, this is the first time it's been found that a micro-organism can switch from human to plant.

"It turns out that the most probable date is about 7,000 years ago, which is when we estimate that we started cultivating grapevines," said Campisano. "Probably as soon as humans started to touch this plant, this bug that used to live on human skin found a very hospitable environment inside the cells of the grapevine."  

Omar Rota-Stabelli, an evolutionary microbiologist at the Edmund Mach Foundation, confirmed that the human acne bug can indeed morph to survive on the barks of grapevines.

Now, this may not be exactly what Zappa had in mind regarding his legacy, but we think the rocker-cum-composer probably wouldn't mind such an infectious tribute.

Here he is, in all his might, at the Roxy in 1973.

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TagsFrank Zappa, P. acnes Zappae, Andrea Campisano, Edmund Mach Foundation, Omar Rota-Stabelli

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