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In order to make sense of the diversity of organisms, it is necessary to group similar

organisms together and organize the groups in a nonoverlapping hierarchical arrangement.
Taxonomy is the science of biological classification. The term Systematics is often used in
place of taxonomy. However many taxonomists define it in more general terms as "the
scientific study of organisms with the ultimate object of characterizing and arranging them in
an orderly manner". Any study of the nature of the organisms, when the knowledge is used in
taxonomy, is part of systematics. Thus it encompasses disciplines such as morphology,
ecology, epidemiology, biochemistry, molecular biology and physiology.
Taxonomic ranks
The most commonly used levels or ranks (in ascending order) are species, genera, families,
orders, classes, phyla or divisions and kingdoms. Informal names are often used in place of
hierarchical ones. Typical examples of such names are purple bacteria, spirochetes, sulfate-
reducing bacteria and lactic acid bacteria.
Rank Example
Kingdom Prokaryotae
Phylum Firmicutes
Class Mollicutes
Order Mycoplasmatales
Family Mycoplasmataceae
Genus Mycoplasma
Species M. pneumoniae
The basic taxonomic group in microbial taxonomy is the species. Taxonomists working with
higher organisms define the term species differently than microbiologists do. Species of
higher organisms are groups of interbreeding natural populations that are reproductively
isolated from other such groups. This fails with many microorganisms because they do not
reproduce sexually. Bacterial species are characterized by phenotypic and genotypic
differences. A bacterial species is a collection of strains that share many stable properties in
common and differ significantly from other groups of strains. A strain is a population of
organisms that descends from a single organism or pure culture isolate. Strains within a
species may differ slightly from one another in many ways.
Microbiologists name microorganisms using the binomial system. The latinized italicized
name consists of two parts. The first part which is capitalized, is the generic name, and the
second is the uncapitalized specific name. e.g. Escherichia coli (which may be shortened to
E. coli ).
Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology is published in five volumes and is the currently
accepted system of bacterial taxonomy.
Previous editions of Bergey’s Manual have used a phenetic system of classification, one
that groups organisms together on the basis of their similarity. Although phenetic studies can
reveal possible evolutionary relationships they are not dependent on phylogenetic analysis.
They compare many traits without assuming that any features are more phylogenetically
important than others. Obviously the best phenetic classification is one constructed by
comparing as many attributes as possible.

Following the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of the Species, biologists began to
develop phylogenetic classification systems, systems based on evolutionary relationships
rather than general resemblance. This has proven difficult for bacteria and other
microorganisms due to the lack of a good fossil record. Some of these problems are being
overcome by the direct comparison of genetic material (DNA) and gene products such as
RNA and proteins. The most recent edition of Bergey’s Manual uses a phylogenetic
framework based on analysis of the nucleotide sequence of the small ribosomal subunit RNA
(16s rRNA). Only recently have sequenced microbial databases become large enough to
allow this major shift from phenetic to phylogenetic classification. The procaryotes are now
divided into two fundamentally different groups (domains), the Archaea and the Bacteria.
The new manual is a work in progress: only volumes 1 and 2 have been published as yet, but
the planned organisation is as follows:-
Volume 1. The Archaea and the Deeply Branching and Phototrophic Bacteria
Volume 2. The Proteobacteria
Volume 3. The Low G + C Gram-positive Bacteria
Volume 4. The High G + C Gram-positive Bacteria
Volume 5. The Planctomycetes, Spirochaetes, Fibrobacteres, Bacteroidetes and Fusobacteria

In the following key, only the names of genera relevant to MICR 2204 and MICR 2205 are
included. Otherwise only the total number of genera in each family is indicated. In the
detailed notes the number in brackets following the genus name is the %G+C.
DOMAIN ARCHAEA Class V Thermococci class. nov.
Phylum AI Crenarchaeota phy. nov. Order I Thermococcales
Family I Thermococcaceae
Class I Thermoprotei class. nov. (2 Genera)
Order I Thermoproteales Class VI Archaeoglobi class. nov.
Family I Thermoproteaceae Order I Archaeoglobales ord. nov.
(4 Genera) Family I Archaeoglobaceae fam. nov.
Family II Thermofilaceae (2 Genera)
(1 Genus) Class VII Methanopyri class. nov.
Order II Desulfurococcales ord. nov. Order I Methanopyrales ord. nov.
Family I Desulfurococcaceae Family I Methanopyraceae fam. nov.
(8 Genera) (1 Genus)
Family II Pyrodictiaceae
Genus I Pyrodictium DOMAIN BACTERIA
(2 Other Genera)
Order III Sulfolobales Phylum BI Aquificae phy. nov.
Family I Sulfolobaceae Class I Aquificae class. nov.
Genus I Sulfolobus Order I Aquificales ord. nov.
(5 Other Genera) Family I Aquificaceae fam. nov.
(4 Genera)
Phylum AII Euryarchaeota phy. nov. Genera incertae sedis
(1 Genus)
Class I Methanobacteria class. nov.
Order I Methanobacteriales Phylum BII Thermotogae phy. nov.
Family I Methanobacteriaceae Class I Thermotogae class. nov.
Genus I Methanobacterium Order I Thermotogales ord. nov.
(3 Other Genera)
Family I Thermotogaceae fam. nov.
Family II Methanothermaceae (5 Genera)
(1 Genus)
Class II Methanococci class. nov. Phylum BIII Thermodesulfobacteria
Order I Methanococcales phy. nov.
Family I Methanococcaceae
(2 Genera) Class I Thermodesulfobacteria class. nov.
Family II Methanocaldococcaceae Order I Thermodesulfobacteriales ord. nov.
fam. nov. Family I Thermodesulfobacteriaceae
(2 Genera) fam. nov.
Order II Methanomicrobiales (1 Genus)
Family I Methanomicrobiaceae
(6 Genera) Phylum BIV “Deinococcus – Thermus”
Family II Methanocorpusculaceae Class I Deinococci class. nov.
(1 Genus)
Order I Deinococcales
Family III Methanospirillaceae fam. nov. Family I Deionococcaceae
(1 Genus)
(1 Genus)
Genera incertae sedis
Order II Thermales ord. nov.
(1 Genus)
Family I Thermaceae fam. nov.
Order III Methanosarcinales ord. nov. (2 Genera)
Family I Methanosarcinaceae
(6 Genera)
Phylum BV Chrysiogenetes phy. nov.
Family II Methanosaetaceae fam. nov.
(1 Genus) Class I Chrysiogenetes class. nov.
Class III Halobacteria class. nov. Order I Chrysiogenales ord. nov.
Order I Halobacteriales Family I Chrysiogenaceae fam. nov.
Family I Halobacteriaceae (1 Genus)
Genus I Halobacterium
Genus IV Halococcus Phylum BVI Chloroflexi phy. nov.
(13 other Genera)
Class I “Chloroflexi”
Class IV Thermoplasmata class. nov. Order I “Chloroflexales”
Order I Thermoplasmatales ord. nov. Family I “Chloroflexaceae”
Family I Thermoplasmataceae fam. nov. (4 Genera)
Genus I Thermoplasma
Family II Picrophilaceae
(1 Genus)
Order II “Herpetosiphonales” Phylum BXII Proteobacteria phy. nov.
Family I “Herpetosiphonaceae”
(1 Genus) Class I “Alphaproteobacteria”
Order I Rhodospirillales
Phylum BVII Thermomicrobia phy. nov. Family I Rhodospirillaceae
Class I Thermomicrobia class. nov. Genus I Rhodospirillum
(9 Other Genera)
Order I Thermomicrobiales ord. nov.
Family I Thermomicrobiacea fam. nov. Family II Acetobacteraceae
(1 Genus)
Genus I Acetobacter
(11 other Genera)
Phylum BVIII Nitrospirae phy. nov. Order II Rickettsiales
Family I Rickettsiaceae
Class I “Nitrospira” Genus I Rickettsia
Order I “Nitrospirales” (2 Other Genera)
Family I “Nitrospiraceae” Family II Ehrlichiaceae
(4 Genera) (5 Genera)
Family III “Holosporaceae”
Phylum BIX Deferribacteres phy. nov. (7 Genera)
Class I Deferribacteres class. nov. Order III “Rhodobacterales”
Order I Deferribacterales ord. nov. Family I “Rhodobacteriaceae”
(20 Genera)
Family I Deferribacteraceae fam. nov.
(3 Genera)
Order IV “Sphingomonadales”
Genera incertae sedis
Family I “Sphingomonadaceae”
(9 Genera)
(1 Genus)
Order V Caulobacterales
Phylum BX Cyanobacteria Family I Caulobacteraceae
Genus I Caulobacter
Class I “Cyanobacteria” (3 Other Genera)
Subsection I Order VI “Rhizobiales”
(14 Form-genera) Family I Rhizobiaceae
Subsection II Genus I Rhizobium
Subgroup I Genus II Agrobacterium
(4 Form-genera) (5 Other Genera)
Subgroup II Family II Bartonellaceae
(3 Form-genera) (1 Genus)
Subsection III Family III Brucellaceae
Form-genus IX Oscillatoria Genus I Brucella
(16 Other Form-genera) (2 Other Genera)
Subsection IV Family IV “Phyllobacteriaceae”
Subgroup I (6 Genera)
(9 Form-genera) Family V “Methylocystaceae”
Subgroup II (3 Genera)
(3 Form-genera) Family VI “Beijerinckiaceae”
Subsection V (3 Genera)
(6 Form-genera) Family VII “Bradyrhizobiaceae”
Genus VI Nitrobacter
Phylum BXI Chlorobi phy. nov. (7 Other Genera)
Class I “Chlorobia” Family VIII Hyphomicrobiaceae
Order I Chlorobiales Genus I Hyphomicrobium
(18 Other Genera)
Family I Chlorobiaceae
(5 Genera)
Family IX “Methylobacteriaceae”
(3 Genera)
Family X “Rhodobiaceae”
(1 Genus)
Class II “Betaproteobacteria”
Order I “Burkholderiales”
Family I “Burkholderiaceae”
Genus I Burkholderia
(3 Other Genera)
Family II “Ralstoniaceae”
(1 Genus)
Family III “Oxalobacteraceae”
(5 Genera)
Family IV Alcaligenaceae Order VI “Methylococcales”
Genus I Alcaligenes Family I Methylococcaceae
Genus III Bordetella Genus I Methylococcus
(4 Other Genera) Genus V Methylomonas
Family V Comamonadaceae (4 Other Genera)
Genus VIII Leptothrix Order VII “Oceanospirillales”
Genus XIII Sphaerotilus Family I “Oceanospirillaceae”
(13 Other Genera) (6 Genera)
Order II “Hydrogenophilales” Family II Halomonadaceae
Family I “Hydrogenophilaceae” (6 Genera)
Genus II Thiobacillus Order VIII Pseudomonadales
(1 Other Genus) Family I Pseudomonadacaceae
Order III “Methylophilales” Genus I Pseudomonas
Family I “Methylophilaceae” Genus III Azotobacter
(3 Genera) (13 Other Genera)
Order IV “Neisseriales” Family II Moraxellaceae
Family I Neisseriaceae Genus I Moraxella
Genus I Neisseria Genus II Acinetobacter
Genus III Aquaspirillum (1 Other Genus)
(12 Other Genera) Order IX “Alteromonadales”
Order V “Nitrosomonadales” Family I “Alteromonadaceae”
Family I “Nitrosomadaceae” (11 Genera)
Genus I Nitrosomonas Order X “Vibrionales”
(1 Other Genus) Family I Vibrionaceae
Family II Spirillaceae Genus I Vibrio
Genus I Spirillum Genus V Photobacterium
Family III Gallionellaceae (4 Other Genera)
Genus I Gallionella Order XI “Aeromonadales”
Order VI “Rhodocyclales” Family I Aeromonadaceae
Family I “Rhodocyclaceae” Genus I Aeromonas
Genus VI Zoogloea (1 Other Genus)
(5 Other Genera) Family II Succinivibrionaceae
Class III “Gammaproteobacteria” (4 Genera)
Order I “Chromatiales” Order XII “Enterobacteriales”
Family I Chromatiaceae Family I Enterobacteriaceae
(22 Genera) Genus I Escherichia
Family II Ectothiorhodospiraceae Genus XII Enterobacter
(5 Genera) Genus XIII Erwinia
Order II “Xanthomonadales” Genus XVI Klebsiella
Family I “Xanthomonadaceae” Genus XXVIII Proteus
Genus I Xanthomonas Genus XXXII Salmonella
(7 Other Genera) Genus XXXIII Serratia
Order III “Cardiobacteriales” Genus XXXIV Shigella
Family I Cardiobacteriaceae Genus XL Yersinia
(3 Genera) (32 Other Genera)
Order IV “Thiotrichales” Order XIII “Pasteurellales”
Family I “Thiotrichaceae” Family I Pasteurellaceae
Genus I Thiothrix Genus III Haemophilus
Genus III Beggiatoa (5 other Genera)
(7 Other Genera) Class IV “Deltaproteobacteria”
Family II “Piscirickettsiaceae” Order I “Desulfurellales”
(5 Genera) Family I “Desulfurellaceae”
Family III “Francisellaceae” (2 Genera)
(1 Genus) Order II “Desulfovibrionales”
Order V “Legionellales” Family I “ Desulfovibrionaceae”
Family I Legionellaceae Genus I Desulfovibrio
Genus I Legionella (2 other Genera)
Family II “Coxiellaceae” Family II “Desulfomicrobiaceae”
(2 Genera) (1 Genus)
Family III “Desulfohalobiaceae”
(3 Genera)
Order III “Desulfobacterales” Order II “Thermoanaerobacteriales”
Family I “Desulfobacteraceae” Family I “Thermoanaerobacteriaceae”
(12 Genera) (7 Genera)
Family II “Desulfobulbaceae” Order III Haloanaerobiales
(4 Genera) Family I Haloanaerobiaceae
Family III “Desulfoarculaceae” (4 Genera)
(4 Genera) Family II Halobacteroidaceae
Order IV “Desulfuromonadales” (5 Genera)
Family I “Desulfuromonadaceae” Class II Mollicutes
(2 Genera) Order I Mycoplasmatales
Family II “Geobacteraceae” Family I Mycoplasmataceae
(1 Genus) Genus I Mycoplasma
Family III “Pelobacteraceae” (3 other Genera)
(2 Genera) Order II Entomoplasmatales
Order V “Syntrophobacterales” Family I Entomoplasmataceae
Family I “Syntrophobacteraceae” (2 Genera)
(4 Genera) Family II Spiroplasmataceae
Family II “Syntrophaceae” (1 Genus)
(2 Genera) Order III Acholeplasmatales
Order VI “Bdellovibrionales” Family I Acholeplasmataceae
Family I “Bdellovibrionaceae” (1 Genus)
Genus I Bdellovibrio Order IV Anaeroplasmatales
(2 other Genera) Family I Anaeroplasmataceae
Order VII Myxococcales (2 Genera)
Family I Myxococcaceae Genera incertae sedis
Genus I Myxococcus Family I “Erysipelotrichaceae”
(1 other Genus) Genus I Erysipelothrix
Family II Archangiaceae (1 other Genus)
(1 Genus) Class III “Bacilli”
Family III Cystobacteraceae Order I Bacillales
(3 Genera) Family I Bacillaceae
Family IV Polyangiaceae Genus I Bacillus
(3 Genera) (7 other Genera)
Class V “Epsilonproteobacteria” Family II Planococcaceae
Order I “Campylobacterales” (4 Genera)
Family I “Campylobacteraceae” Family III Caryophanaceae
Genus I Campylobacter (1 Genus)
(3 other Genera) Family IV “Listeriaceae”
Family II “Helicobacteraceae” Genus I Listeria
Genus I Helicobacter (1 other Genus)
(1 Other Genus) Family V “Staphylococcaceae”
Genus I Staphylococcus
Phylum BXIII Firmicutes phy. nov. (3 other Genera)
Class I “Clostridia” Family VI “Sporolactobacillaceae”
(2 Genera)
Order I Clostridiales Family VII “Paenibacillaceae”
Family I Clostridiaceae (6 Genera)
Genus I Clostridium Family VIII “Alicyclobacillaceae”
Genus VIII Sarcina (3 Genera)
(9 other Genera)
Family II “Lachnospiraceae” Family IX “Thermoactinomycetaceae”
(11 Genera)
Genus I Thermoactinomyces
Family III “Peptostreptococcaceae” Order II “Lactobacillales”
(5 Genera)
Family I Lactobacillaceae
Family IV “Eubacteriaceae” Genus I Lactobacillus
(1 other Genus)
(3 Genera)
Family V Peptococcaceae Family II “Aerococcaceae”
(7 Genera)
(17 Genera)
Family VI “Heliobacteriaceae” Family III “Carnobacteriaceae”
(7 Genera)
(3 Genera)
Family VII “Acidaminococcaceae” Family IV “Enterococcaceae”
(4 Genera)
(14 Genera)
Family VIII Syntrophomonadaceae Family V “Leuconostocaceae”
(3 Genera)
(13 Genera)
Family VI Streptococcaceae Family IV Mycobacteriaceae
Genus I Streptococcus Genus I Mycobacterium
(1 other Genus) Family V Nocardiaceae
Genera incertae sedis Genus I Nocardia
(3 other Genera) (1 other Genus)
Family VI Tsukamurellaceae
Phylum BXIV Actinobacteria phy. nov. (1 Genus)
Family VII “Williamsiaceae”
Class I Actinobacteria (1 Genus)
Subclass I Acidimicrobidae Suborder VIII Micromonosporineae
Order I Acidimicrobiales Family I Micromonosporaceae
Suborder I “Acidimicrobineae” (9 Genera)
Family I Acidimicrobiaceae Suborder IX Propionibacterineae
(1 Genus) Family I Propionibacteriaceae
Subclass II Rubrobacteridae Genus I Propionibacterium
Order I Rubrobacterales (4 Other Genera)
Suborder I “Rubrobacterineae” Family II Nocardioidaceae
Family I Rubrobacteraceae (5 Genera)
(1 Genus) Suborder X Pseudonocardineae
Subclass III Coriobacteridae Family I Pseudonocardiaceae
Order I Coriobacteriales (11 Genera)
Suborder I “Coriobacterineae” Family II Actinosynnemataceae
Family I Coriobacteriaceae (4 Genera)
(6 Genera) Suborder XI Streptomycineae
Subclass IV Sphaerobacteridae Family I Streptomycetaceae
Order I Sphaerobacterales Genus I Streptomyces
Suborder I “Sphaerobacterineae” (2 other Genera)
Family I Sphaerobacteraceae Suborder XII Streptosporangineae
(1 Genus) Family I Streptosporangiaceae
Subclass V Actinobacteridae (9 Genera)
Order I Actinomycetales Family II Nocardiopsaceae
Suborder I Actinomycineae (2 Genera)
Family I Actinomycetaceae Family III Thermomonosporaceae
Genus I Actinomyces (3 Genera)
(3 Other Genera) Suborder XIII Frankineae
Suborder VI Micrococcineae Family I Frankiaceae
Family I Micrococcaceae (1 Genus)
(11 Genera) Family II Geodermatophilaceae
Family II Brevibacteriaceae (3 Genera)
(1 Genus) Family III Microsphaeraceae
Family III Cellulomonadaceae (1 Genus)
(3 Genera) Family IV Sporichthyaceae
Family IV Dermabacteraceae (1 Genus)
(2 Genera) Family V Acidothermaceae
Family V Dermatophilaceae (1 Genus)
(3 Genera) Family VI “Kineosporiaceae”
Family VI Intrasporangiaceae (3 Genera)
(5 Genera) Suborder XIV Glycomycineae
Family VII Jonesiaceae Family I Glycomycetaceae
(1 Genus) (1 Genus)
Family VIII Microbacteriaceae Order II Bifidobacterales
(10 Genera) Family I Bifidobacteriaceae
Family IX “Beutenbergiaceae” (3 Genera)
(1 Genus) Genera incertae sedis
Family X Promicromonosporaceae (5 Genera)
(1 Genus)
Suborder VII Corynebacterineae Phylum BXV Planctomycetes phy. nov.
Family I Corynebacteriaceae Class I “Planctomycetacia”
Genus I Corynebacterium Order I Planctomycetales
Family II Dietziaceae Family I Planctomycetaceae
(1 Genus)
(4 Genera)
Family III Gordoniaceae
(2 Genera)
Phylum BXVI Chlamydiae phy. nov. Family III “Blattabacteriaceae”
(1 Genus)
Class I “Chlamydiae” Class III “Sphingobacteria”
Order I Chlamydiales Order I “Sphingobacteriales”
Family I Chlamydiaceae Family I Sphingobacteriaceae
Genus I Chlamydia (2 Genera)
(1 other Genus) Family II “Saprospiraceae”
Family II Parachlamydiaceae (3 Genera)
(1 Genus) Family III “Flexibacteraceae”
Family III Simkaniaceae Genus III Cytophaga
(1 Genus) (9 other Genera)
Family IV Waddliaceae Family IV “Flammeovirgaceae”
(1 Genus) (4 Genera)
Family V Crenotrichaceae
Phylum BXVII Spirochaetes phy. nov. (4 Genera)

Class I “Spirochaetes” Phylum BXXI Fusobacteria phy. nov.

Order I Spirochaetales Class I “Fusobacteria”
Family I Spirochaetaceae Order I “Fusobacteriales”
Genus I Spirochaeta Family I “Fusobacteriaceae”
Genus II Borrelia (6 Genera)
Genus IX Treponema Family II Incertae sedis
(6 Other Genera) (1 Genus)
Family II “Serpulinaceae”
(2 Genera) Phylum BXXII Verrucomicrobia phy. nov.
Family III Leptospiraceae
Genus II Leptospira Class I Verrucomicrobiae
(1 Other Genus) Order I Verrucomicrobiales
Family I Verrucomicrobiaceae
Phylum BXVIII Fibrobacteres phy. nov. (2 Genera)
Class I “Fibrobacteres” Phylum BXXIII Dictyoglomi phy. nov.
Order I “Fibrobacterales”
Family I “Fibrobacteraceae” Class I “Dictyoglomi”
(1 Genus) Order I “Dictyoglomales”
Family I “Dictyoglomaceae”
Phylum BXIX Acidobacteria phy. nov. (1 Genus)
Class I “Acidobacteria”
Order I “Acidobacteriales”
Family I “Acidobacteriaceae”
(3 Genera)

Phylum BXX Bacteroidetes phy. nov.

Class I “Bacteroides”
Order I “Bacteroidales”
Family I Bacteroidaceae
Genus I Bacteroides
(5 other Genera)
Family II “Rikenellaceae”
(2 Genera)
Family III “Porphyromonadaceae”
(1 Genus)
Family IV “Prevotellaceae
(1 Genus)
Class II “Flavobacteria”
Order I “Flavobacteriales”
Family I Flavobacteriaceae
(14 Genera)
Family II “Myroidaceae”
(1 Genus)
Alphabetical list of genera

Genus Page Genus Page

Acetobacter 13 Methanobacterium 11
Acinetobacter 17 Methylococcus 17
Actinomyces 26 Methylomonas 17
Aeromonas 18 Moraxella 17
Agrobacterium 14 Mycobacterium 26
Alcaligenes 14 Mycoplasma 23
Aquaspirillum 15 Myxococcus 21
Azotobacter 17 Neisseria 15
Bacillus 23 Nitrobacter 14
Bacteroides 29 Nitrosomonas 15
Bdellovibrio 21 Nocardia 27
Beggiatoa 16 Oscillatoria 12
Bordetella 14 Photobacterium 18
Borrelia 28 Proteus 19
Brucella 14 Pseudomonas 17
Burkholderia 14 Pyrodictium 11
Campylobacter 21 Rhizobium 13
Caulobacter 13 Rhodospirillum 13
Chlamydia 27 Rickettsia 13
Clostridium 22 Salmonella 19
Corynebacterium 26 Sarcina 22
Cytophaga 29 Serratia 19
Desulfovibrio 20 Shigella 19
Enterobacter 18 Sphaerotilus 15
Erwinia 18 Spirillum 15
Erysipelothrix 23 Spirochaeta 28
Escherichia 18 Staphylococcus 23
Gallionella 15 Streptococcus 24
Haemophilus 20 Streptomyces 27
Halobacterium 11 Sulfolobus 11
Halococcus 11 Thermoplasma 12
Helicobacter 21 Thiobacillus 15
Hyphomicrobium 14 Thiothrix 16
Klebsiella 19 Treponema 28
Lactobacillus 24 Vibrio 18
Legionella 16 Xanthomonas 16
Leptospira 28 Yersinia 19
Leptothrix 14 Zoogloea 16
Listeria 23
Phylum AI Crenarchaeota

Class I Thermoprotei
Order II Desulfurococcales
Genus I Pyrodictium (60-62). Cells disk to dish shaped, highly variable in diameter,
0.3-2.5 µm. Produce tubules (cannulae) which form networks connecting cells. Strictly and
facultatively chemolithotrophic. Gram-negative. Strictly anaerobic. Hyperthermophilic,
isolated from geothermally heated sea floors. Has a temperature optimum between 97oC and
105oC, and a maximum at 110oC.
Order III Sulfolobales
Genus I Sulfolobus (34-42) Cells coccoid, highly irregular, 0.7-2.0 µm in diameter, usually
occurring singly. Gram-negative. Immotile or motile by possession of one or more flagella.
Aerobic. Lithotrophic growth via oxidation of sulfur, sulfide, or tetrathionate.
Thermoacidophilic, growing between 65oC and 85oC and at pH 1 to 5.5.
Phylum AII Euryarchaeota
Class I Methanobacteria
Order I Methanobacteriales
Genus I Methanobacterium (32-61). Curved, crooked or straight rods, long to filamentous,
about 0.5-1.0 µm in width. Stain as Gram-positive, contain pseudomurein. Non-motile. Cells
may produce fimbriae. Strictly anaerobic. Optimum growth temperature between 37 oC and
45 oC. Reduce CO2 to CH4 (methanogenic).

Class III Halobacteria

Order I Halobacteriales
These organisms, known as the halobacteria, require at least 1.5 M (8%) NaCl, and in most
cases 3.5-4.5 M (19-24%) NaCl in their environment for growth. Lack muramic-acid-
containing peptidoglycan in their cell walls. Occur ubiquitously in nature where salt
concentration is high. e.g. in salt lakes, salt ponds and marine salterns. Grow on salted hides,
i.e. fish, causing damage. Nonpathogenic. Colonies of most strains are red, due to C50
carotenoids. A few species form square cells.
Genus I Halobacterium (67.1-71.2) Rod shaped under optimum conditions, 0.5-1.2 x
1.0-6.0 µm. but pleiomorphic forms are common. Motile by tufts of polar flagella. Stain
Gram-negative but no outer membrane is present. Mostly aerobic. Optimum temperature,
35-50oC. Extremely halophilic, able to grow in 3.0 to 5.2 M NaCl.
Genus IV Halococcus (59.5-67) Cocci 0.8-1.5µm in diameter. Stain mainly Gram-negative
with some cells Gram-positive. Non-motile. Strictly aerobic. Optimum temperature,
30-40oC. Extremely halophilic requiring at least 2.5 M NaCl, and 3.5-4.5 M for optimum
Class IV Thermoplasmata
Order I Thermoplasmatales

Genus I Thermoplasma (46) Pleiomorphic, from spherical (0.5-5.0 µm) to filamentous. Cells
lack a true cell wall and are surrounded by a triple layer membrane. Stain Gram-negative.
Cells may be motile and are facultatively aerobic. Obligate thermoacidophile, with optimal
growth at 55-59oC and pH 1-2.

Phylum BVI Chloroflexi phy. nov.
Photosynthetic bacteria are located in seven groups distributed between five phyla. The
phylum Chloroflexi contains the green non-sulfur bacteria. These use anoxic photosynthesis
and are filamentous, gliding bacteria. They contain bacteriochlorophylls a and c which
mediate the distinctive cell colour.
Phylum BX Cyanobacteria
Oxygenic, phototrophic procaryotic organisms that use water as an electron donor and hence
produce oxygen in light. Although cyanobacteria are true prokaryotes, their photosynthetic
system closely resembles that of the eukaryotes because they have chlorophyll a and
photosystem II, and carry out oxygenic photosynthesis. This gave rise to the name blue
green algae. However, these organisms are prokaryotes and are not algae. Like the red algae,
cyanobacteria use phycobiliproteins as accessory pigments. Cyanobacteria vary greatly in
shape and appearance. They range in diameter from about 1 to 10 µm and may be unicellular,
exist as colonies of many shapes, or form filaments called trichomes. A trichome is a row of
bacterial cells that are in close contact with one another over a large area. Although most
appear blue-green because of phycocyanin, a few are red or brown in colour because of the
red pigment phycoerythrin. Gram-negative.

Often use gas vesicles to move vertically in water. Cells are always enclosed by a rigid,
multilayered wall with an inner peptidoglycan layer. The wall may in turn be surrounded by
a gelatinous sheath. Most cyanobacteria are motile at some stage of development. Motility
is always of the gliding type. The cytoplasmic region is transversed by an extensive system
of paired photosynthetic lamellae (thylakoids). Some cyanobacteria are unicellular, others
consist of chains of cells (filaments), either simple or branched. Reproduction of unicellular
forms may occur by binary fission, by multiple fission or by serial release of atypical cells
(exospores) from a sessile individual. Forms that consist of filaments grow by repeated
intercalary cell divisions and reproduce either by random fragmentation of the filament or by
release of short motile chains of cells (hormogonia). Certain filament-formers produce
specialized cells known as akinetes and heterocysts. Akinetes are larger than the vegetative
cells in the filament and represent a resting stage, which germinates with release of a
hormogonium. Heterocysts are non-reproductive cells distinguishable from adjoining cells
by the presence of refractile polar granules and of a thick outer wall. They are believe to be
physiologically specialized cells that serve as sites of nitrogen fixation.

Form Genus IX Oscillatoria (40-50) Filamentous straight trichomes, over 4 µm in diameter

with some species > 100 µm. Trichome has gliding motility by rotation. Widely distributed
in fresh, brackish and marine waters. Form microbial mats.

Phylum BXI Chlorobi phy. nov.

This phylum contains the green sulfur bacteria. They use anoxic photosynthesis and are
obligately anaerobic photolithoautotrophs that use H2S, S and H2 as electron donors.
Elemental sulfur is produced by sulfide oxidation and S globules accumulate on the outside
of the cells.
Phylum BXII Proteobacteria

Class I Alphaproteobacteria
Order I Rhodospirillales
Genus I Rhodospirillum (62.1-63.5) Cells are vibroid to spiral shaped, 0.4-2.0 µm in
diameter Motile by means of bipolar flagella. Gram-negative. Mesophilic, fresh-water
bacteria. Anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria, members of the group commonly known as
purple non-sulfur bacteria. Possess bacteriochlorophylls a or b.
Genus I Acetobacter (50.5-60.3) Cells ellipsoidal to rod shaped, straight or slightly curved,
0.6-0.9 x 1.0-4.0 µm. Gram-negative. Motile or non-motile; if motile, the flagella are
peritrichous. Obligately aerobic.
Members of this genus are found in beer, wine etc. which has become acid. Acetobacter can
oxidise ethanol to acetic acid and in addition it oxidises acetate and lactate to CO2 and H2O
(“over oxidisers”).
Order II Rickettsiales
Genus I Rickettsia (29-33) Small Gram-negative rods, often paired. 0.3-0.5 x 0.8-2.0 µm in
length. Non-motile. Obligately intracellular. Growth occurs in host cell cytoplasm and
sometimes the nucleus but no growth in the vacuoles of host cells. Energy is derived from
the oxidation of glutamate via the TCA cycle, but do not utilize glucose. Aetiological agents
of human diseases; typhus, spotted fever and scrub typhus. The organism has an affinity for
endothelial lining causing obstruction and lesions in blood vessels which results in a rash.

Order V Caulobacterales

Genus I Caulobacter (62-65) Stalked bacteria. Strictly respiratory and aerobic. Produce a
very fine stalk with which they attach themselves to some substance. Individual cells are
either straight or curved Gram-negative rods, 0.4-0.6 x 1.0-2.0 µm, with polar flagellation.
The long axis of the stalk coincides with the long axis of the cell; in liquid media groups of
cells are often arranged as rosettes with the stalks attached to a common holdfast.
Reproduction is by transverse fission of the cell, with the daughter cell separating from the
free end and developing a single polar flagellum. The daughter cell produces a stalk from the
end of the cell at which the flagellum is located. They are found in freshwater, tap and
bottled water and sewage.

Order VI Rhizobiales
Genus I Rhizobium (57-66) Rods, 0.5-1.0 x 1.2-3.0 µm. Gram-negative and non-spore-
forming. Cause nodule production on roots of leguminous plants predominantly of the
temperate zones with or without symbiotic nitrogen fixation. In root nodules bacteria appear
as pleiomorphic bacteroids. Fast growth on yeast-extract mannitol agar.
Genus II Agrobacterium (57-63) Rods, 0.6-1.0 x 1.5-3.0 µm occurring singly or in pairs.
Gram-negative. Non-spore-forming. Cells do not stimulate root nodule production on
leguminous plants but most species do produce other types of hypertrophies on many plants.
Strains of the type species A. tumefaciens cause crown gall tumours in a variety of plants. Do
not fix free nitrogen.
Genus I Brucella (57.9-59) Cocci, coccobacilli, or short rods, 0.5-0.7 x 0.6-1.5 µm, arranged
singly and occasionally in pairs, short chains or small groups. Gram-negative and non-motile.
Aerobic. Brucella species are mammalian parasites and pathogens; facultatively intracellular
with a wide host range. Infection in some cases may take place by penetration of mucous
membranes or through unbroken skin. In man they can cause bubonic and pneumonic
plagues, septicaemias (e.g. brucellosis, undulant fever), pneumonia and broncho-pneumonia,
tularemia, whooping cough and other respiratory tract disorders. In animals they may
produce septicaemias, contagious abortion (Brucella abortus), pneumonia and respiratory
tract infections, and a tularemia-like disease.
Genus VI Nitrobacter (59-62) Pleiomorphic rod or pear-shaped cells with a polar cap of
cytomembranes, 0.5-0.9 x 1.0-2.0 µm. Gram-negative, may be motile by means of a single
polar to subpolar flagellum. Nitrite oxidizing bacteria (nitrite oxidized to nitrate). Aerobic
but also capable of anaerobic respiration with nitrate. Found in soil, water and sewage.
Genus I Hyphomicrobium (59-65) Rod shaped with pointed ends or oval, egg or bean-shaped,
0.3-1.2 x 1.0-3.0 µm. Gram-negative. Produce monopolar or bipolar filamentous hyphae, 0.2-
0.3 µm diameter. Multiply by budding at hyphal tip to form motile swarmer cells. Found in
the mud and water of fresh water ponds and streams.
Class II Betaproteobacteria
Order I Burkholderiales


Genus I Burkholderia (59-69.6) Straight or curved rods, single or in pairs, 0.5-1.0 x 1.5-4
µm. Motile via several polar flagella. Gram-negative. Most species accumulate poly-B-
hydroxybutyrate as carbon reserve. Strictly respiratory, mainly aerobic but some species
exhibit anaerobic respiration with nitrate. Over half of the species are pathogenic for plants,
animals and humans, causing glanders, melioidosis and infections in cystic fibrosis patients.
Genus I Alcaligenes (56-60) Rods or coccobacilli, 0.5-1.2 x 1.0-3.0 µm. Motile with 1-9
peritrichous flagella. Aerobic. Gram-negative, oxidase positive. Most species are common,
saprophytic inhabitants of the intestinal tract of vertebrates. Occur in dairy products, rotting
eggs and other foods; and in fresh water, marine and terrestrial environments in which they
are involved in decomposition and mineralization processes. Rarely cause human infections.
Genus III Bordetella (66-70) Coccobacillus, 0.2-0.5 µm in diameter and 0.5-2.0 µm in
length. Non-motile or motile by peritrichous flagella. Aerobic. Gram-negative. The type
species Bordetella pertussis, causes whooping cough, other species cause respiratory
infections in mammals including humans, and in birds
Genus VIII Leptothrix (70-71) Straight rods, 0.6-1.5 x 2.5-15 µm, occurring in chains within
a sheath or single cells, pairs or short chains. Most strains are motile by one polar flagellum.
Aerobic. Gram-negative. The sheath is regularly encrusted with oxides of Fe and Mn . Found
in freshwater habitats.
Genus XIII Sphaerotilus (70) Straight rods, 1.2-2.5 x 2.0-10 µm, usually arranged in single
chains within sheaths of uniform width. Single or paired cells released from the sheath are
motile by means of a bundle of subpolar flagella. Aerobic. Gram-negative. Found in water
contaminated with sewage or wastewater, activated sludge.
Order II Hydrogenophilales
Genus II Thiobacillus (62-67) Rod-shaped, 0.3-0.5 x 0.9-4.0 µm, motile, Gram-negative.
Their final oxidation product (from sulfides, Sulfur, thiosulfate, polythionates or sulfite) is
sulfate. The genus includes strictly autotrophic species which derive their C from CO2,
facultative autotrophs and at least one species which requires both a partially reduced Sulfur
compound and organic matter for optimal growth. Most are obligate aerobes. Found in sea
water, marine mud, soil, fresh water, acid mine waters, sewage, Sulfur springs and in or near
Sulfur deposits. Especially frequent in environments in which H2 is produced or Sulfur
Order IV Neisseriales
Genus I Neisseria (48-56) Cells are kidney-shaped or hemi-spherical often in pairs with the
flat sides adjacent, 0.6-1.9 µm in diameter. Gram-negative. Aerobic. Some species produce a
yellow pigment. Growth on non-enriched media may be poor and biochemical activities are
limited to the utilisation of a few carbohydrates and production of abundant catalase. The
type species, N. gonorrhoeae (the gonococcus) is the cause of gonorrhoea and other
infections in man, and can be isolated from purulent venereal discharges. It is also found in
blood, conjunctiva, joints and cerebrospinal fluid; not found in other animals. N.
meningitidis (the meningococcus) causes epidemic cerebrospinal fever (meningitis) in man
and can be isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid. It has also been found in the nasopharynx,
blood, conjunctiva and pus from joints. It is not found in other animals. Nonpathogenic
Neisseria species occur in oral cavity and elsewhere.
Genus III Aquaspirillum (49-66) Rigid, generally helical cells, 0.2-1.4 µm in diameter with
bipolar tufts of flagella; found in stagnant, fresh water environments. Aerobic to
microaerophilic. Gram-negative. Non-pathogenic.

Order V Nitrosomonadales
Genus I Nitrosomonas (45-54) Spherical, ellipsoidal or rod-shaped, 0.7-1.7 x 1.0-2.5 µm
with intracytoplasmic membranes occurring as flattened vesicles. Gram-negative. Ammonia
oxidizing bacteria (ammonia oxidized to nitrite). Fpound in sewage disposal plants and
various water environments.
Genus I Spirillum (36 or 38) Rigid helical cells, 1.4-1.7 x 14-60 µm. Motile by large bipolar
tufts of approximately 75 flagella. Gram-negative. Occur in stagnant freshwater
environments. Microaerophilic but can grow aerobically in special media.
Genus I Gallionella (51-54.6) Bacteria with excreted appendages or holdfasts. Cells are
kidney shaped, 0.5-0.8 x 1.6-2.5 µm, and secrete a long twisted stalk, 0.3-0.5 µm x 400 µm
in length. The long axis of the cell is perpendicular to that of the stalk. The stalks become
encrusted with oxides of iron and manganese. Gram-negative. The organism is
microaerophilic or chemo-lithotrophic, requiring Fe3+ and CO2. Found in groundwater,
drainpipes and wells. Growth may cause problem in water works.
Order VI Rhodocyclales

Genus VI Zoogloea (67.3-69) Straight to slightly curved plump rods, 1.0-1.3 x 2.1-3.6 µm,
young cells are actively motile. Gram-negative. Aerobic. In natural water and certain media,
cells aggregate in macroscopic flocs, free floating or attached to surfaces. The flocs are firm
and show fingerlike or dendritic outgrowth; they have extracellular fibrils interlacing the
cells in the flocs. Pleiomorphic with age; old cells usually distend with granules of poly-b-
hydroxybutyrate. Occur in organically polluted water and are important organisms in sewage
treatment plants.

Class III Gammaproteobacteria

Order I Xanthomonadales
Genus I Xanthomonas (63.3-69.7) Straight rods, 0.4-0.6 x 0.8-2.0 µm, mostly single or in
pairs. Motile by a single polar flagellum. Gram-negative. Aerobic. Most species produce a
water insoluble carotenoid pigment and colonies are usually yellow. Their oxidase reaction is
negative or weak and their minimal growth requirements are complex; they do not reduce
nitrates. All species are plant pathogens and are found only in association with plants or
plant materials. Most species produce extracellular polysaccharide called xanthan.
Order IV Thiotrichales
Genus I Thiothrix (44-52) Rods, 0.7-1.5 x 1.2-2.5 µm, depending on species, seriate in rigid,
multicellular filaments (trichomes) of uniform or slightly tapering diameter. Aerobic or
microaerophilic. Gram-negative or Gram variable. Contains sulfur globules. Found in
sulfide-containing water and wastewater treatment plants.
Genus III Beggiatoa (35-39) Colourless cells, 1.0-200 x 2.0-10.0 µm. Cells arranged in single
filaments 5-10cm in length that move by gliding motility, or in mats. Gram-negative.
Aerobic or microaerophilic. Sulfur is deposited in periplasmically located envelopes when
cells exposed to hydrogen sulfide. Found in horizontal layers in sediments between anoxic
and oxic zones.
Order V Legionellales
Genus I Legionella (38-52) Rods, 0.3-0.9 x 2.0-20 µm in length. Gram-negative. Motile by
polar or lateral flagella. Aerobic. L-cysteine and iron salts required for growth. Isolated
from surface water (particularly air conditioning water cooling towers), mud and thermally
polluted lakes and streams. Associated with environmental amoebae. There is no known soil
or animal source. Pathogenic for man. Pneumonia caused by L. pneumophila is commonly
referred to as “Legionnaires disease”.
Order VI Methylococcales
These Gram-negative, aerobic cells are chemoorganotrophs that utilize only C1 compounds
such as CH4 or CH3OH, and are termed methanotrophs. Methanotrophs are the largest global
methane sink and make up a high proportion of the total bacterial biomass in aquatic
environments and sediments. Oxygen is their terminal electron acceptor and they do not
require organic growth factors. The majority of species produce a polysaccharide cyst-like
resting stage.
Genus I Methylococcus (59-65) Cocci or rods, 0.8-1.5 x 1.0-1.5 µm, usually occurring
singly or in pairs. If motile, cells are propelled by a single flagellum. Gram-negative.
Aerobic. Moderately thermophilic, optimal growth 40-60°C.

Genus II Methylomonas (50-59) Straight or slightly curved rods, 0.5-1.0 x 1.0-4.0 µm.
Motile by polar flagellum. Gram-negative. Aerobic. Mesophilic, optimal growth 25-30°C.
Order VIII Pseudomonadales

Genus I Pseudomonas (58-69) Straight or slightly curved rods, 0.5-1 µm by 1.5-5.0 µm in

length that are motile by one or more polar flagella. Gram-negative. Aerobic, with strictly
respiratory metabolism. Many species produce water-soluble and sometimes fluorescent
pigments (e.g. pyocyanin, fluorescein) which diffuse into the medium and leave the colonies
off-white in colour. The metabolic activity of the genus is essentially oxidative, but
extremely versatile and diversified; they reduce nitrate beyond nitrite to ammonia and
nitrogen and attack many chemical substances that are not degraded by other bacteria (e.g.
various hydrocarbons including kerosene). Many can degrade an exceptionally wide variety
of organic molecules and are very important in the mineralization process in nature and in
sewage treatment. The majority actively attack amino acids, peptones and some proteins
(particularly gelatin) and split fat. The type species is P. aeruginosa, commonly known as
‘the blue pus organism’ and is an opportunistic pathogen of man where it infects wounds
and burns. Many species are found in soil and water, including sea water and even heavy
brines; several are plant pathogens but very few are animal pathogens. Pseudomonads such as
P. fluorescens are involved in the spoilage of refrigerated milk, meat, eggs and seafood
because they grow at 4oC and degrade lipids and proteins.
Genus III Azotobacter (63.2-67.5) Range from straight rods with rounded ends to more
ellipsoidal or coccoid depending on the culture medium and age, 1.5-2.0 x 4.0-10.0 µm. May
form dormant cysts as the culture ages. Usually motile, Gram-negative and free living.
Catalase positive. Capable of fixing molecular N non-symbiotically in a N-free medium with
an organic carbon source. Organic growth factors are not required for growth but for N
fixation, trace elements, in particular molybdenum, are required. Most strains are capsulated
and produce copious slime. Strict aerobes, inhabiting soil, water and leaf surfaces.


Genus I Moraxella (40-47.5). Rods or cocci. The rods are often very short and plump (1.0-
1.5 x 1.5-2.5 µm). Usually occur in pairs and short chains. Cocci (0.6-1.0mm) occur as single
cells or in pairs with adjacent sides flattened. Division in two planes at right angles to each
other sometimes results in the formation of tetrads. May be capsulated. Gram-negative.
Aerobic. Oxidase positive and usually catalase positive. No acid is produced from
carbohydrates. Parasitic on the mucous membranes of man and other warm-blooded animals
M. catarrhalis very frequently isolated from the nasal cavity of man, less commonly from
the pharynx. Causes bronchitis, pneumonia; otitis media and sinusitis in children and infants.
Genus II Acinetobacter (38-47) Rods, 0.9-1.6 µm x 1.5-2.5 µm. Gram-negative. Swimming
motility does not occur but displays `twitching motility', due to the presence of polar fimbrae.
Aerobic. Oxidase negative. Catalase positive. Occurs naturally in soil, water and sewage.
Can cause nosocomial infections such as bacteraemia and pneumonia in man.
Order X Vibrionales
The majority are aquatic microorganisms, widespread in fresh water and in the sea. Several
members of the family are unusual in being bioluminescent. Vibrio fisheri and at least two
species of Photobacterium are among the few marine bacteria capable of bioluminescence
and emit a blue-green light because of the activity of the enzyme luciferase. Although many
of these bacteria are free-living, some species are found symbiotically in the luminous organs
of fish.
Genus I Vibrio (38-51) Straight, slightly curved, curved or comma shaped rods, 0.5-0.8 x
1.4-2.6 µm. Gram-negative. Facultative anaerobes. Very common in fresh or seawater and
on or in the alimentary canal of marine animals. Motile in liquid media by sheathed polar
flagella, swarm across solid surfaces by unsheathed lateral flagella. Most species pathogenic
for humans, causing diarrhoea or other infections. V. cholerae is the aetiologic agent of
pandemic cholera. V. parahaemolyticus occurs in sea foods and causes enteritis. V. harveyi
and others are responsible for fish diseases.
Genus V Photobacterium (39-44) Plump, straight rods, 0.8-1.3 x 1.8-2.4 µm. Usually
motile by unsheathed polar flagella. Gram-negative. Facultative anaerobes. Oxidase positive.
All use D-glucose as their sole or primary carbon and energy source Chemoorganotrophs
that do not have exacting nutritional requirements. Widespread in marine environments.
Order XI Aeromonadales
Genus I Aeromonas (57-63) Straight cocco-bacillary to bacillary with rounded ends, 0.3-1.0 x
1.0-3.5 µm, occurring singly or in pairs. Motile by a single polar flagellum. Gram-negative.
Facultative anaerobes. Oxidase positive and with a fermentative metabolism. All species are
found in water and some cause diseases in a wide variety of warm-blooded and cold-blooded
animals including humans, frogs and fish.
Order XII Enterobacteriales
Small, Gram-negative, straight non-sporing rods; motile by peritrichous flagella or non-
motile. Aerobic and facultatively anaerobic. Grow readily on meat extract but some
members have special growth requirements. Chemoorganotrophs; metabolism respiratory
and fermentative. Acid is produced from fermentation of glucose, other carbohydrates and
alcohol. Most are catalase positive, oxidase negative, and reduce nitrates to nitrites.
Members of the family often called enterobacteria or enteric bacteria; all degrade sugars by
means of the Embden-Meyerhof pathway and cleave pyruvic acid to yield formic acid in
formic acid fermentation. Because the enteric bacteria are so similar in appearance,
biochemical tests are normally used to identify them after preliminary examination of their
morphology, motility and growth responses. Some of the more commonly used tests are
those for the type of formic acid fermentation, lactose and pyruvate utilization, indole
production from tryptophan, urea hydrolysis, and hydrogen sulfide production.
Genus I Escherichia (48-59) Straight cylindrical rods, 1.1-1.5 x 2.0-6.0 µm, occurring singly
or in pairs. Motile by peritrichous flagella or non-motile. Gram-negative. Aerobic and
facultatively anaerobic. Oxidase negative. E. coli is capable of using ammonia nitrogen and
hence can be grown in a variety of mineral salts media containing a suitable carbon source
e.g. acetate but not citrate. Many strains produce capsules. Exhibits lactose fermentation.
Found in lower part of the intestine of humans and animals. Most E. coli strains are non-
pathogenic, but certain serotypes or clones cause intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. These
include enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) and uropathogenic
E.coli (UPEC).
Genus XII Enterobacter (52-60) Straight rods, 0.6-1.0 x 1.2-3.0 µm. Motile by peritrichous
flagella. Gram-negative. Facultative anaerobes. Some encapsulated; able to use citrate and
acetate as sole Carbon source. Found in faeces of man and other animals, sewage, soil and
water. Exhibits lactose fermentation. Enterobacter species can cause enteric and urinary tract
Genus XIII Erwinia (49.8-54.1) Straight rods, 0.5-1.0 x 1.0-3.0 µm, occurring singly or in
pairs. Motile by peritrichous flagella. Gram-negative. Facultative anaerobes. Oxidase
negative and catalase positive. Produce acid from a variety of carbohydrates but gas
production is weak or absent. Erwinia species cause plant diseases: E. amylovora (starch
loving) causes a necrotic disease, fire blight while other species cause dieback, wilts and
crown rot.
Genus XVI Klebsiella (53-58) Straight rods, 0.3-1.0 x 0.6-6.0 µm, arranged singly, in pairs
or short chains, often surrounded by a capsule. Non-motile (except K. mobilis). Gram-
negative. Facultative anaerobes. No special growth requirements and most strains can use
citrate or glucose as a sole C source and ammonia as N source. Most strains produce 2,3
butanediol as a major end product of fermentation of glucose (the Voges-Proskauer reaction
is positive). It is widely distributed in nature, soil, water, grain, etc. and is normally found in
intestinal tract of man and animals. It may be isolated in association with several
pathological conditions in man, e.g. infection of urinary or respiratory tracts. K. pneumoniae
causes pneumonia, urinary tract infections and bacteraemia, associated with the presence of
the K2 capsular serotype.

Genus XXVIII Proteus (38-41) Straight rods, 0.4-0.8 x 1.0-3.0 µm. Motile by peritrichous
flagella. Most strains swarm with periodic cycles of migration producing concentric rings on
agar plates. Short flagellated rods or ‘swimmers’ differentiate on solid media into long
nonseptate ‘swarmers’ with a large increase in flagellar numbers. Gram-negative. Facultative
anaerobes. Oxidase negative and catalase positive. All are unable to ferment lactose but
hydrolyse urea rapidly. The species of Proteus are distinguished from each other (and also
from other genera in this family) on the basis of biochemical reactions. Found in manure,
soil and the intestines of humans and animals. Cause urinary tract infections which may give
rise to fatal bacteraemias. Also are secondary invaders, causing septic lesions at many other
sites of the body.
Genus XXXII Salmonella (50-53) Straight rods, 0.7-1.5 x 2.0-5.0 µm Usually motile by
peritrichous flagella; non-motile mutants may occur. Gram-negative. Facultative anaerobes.
Most strains can grow on defined media without special growth factors and most can use
citrate as sole C source. Most strains are aerogenic (produce gas) except S. Typhi. Attempts
to subdivide the genus into valid species from the taxonomic point of view have met with
great difficulties. Collectively there are over 1200 serovars separated into groups on the
basis of their smooth somatic antigens (0) and flagella antigens (H). Previously these
serovars were often given a species name e.g. Salmonella typhi. Based on DNA studies, there
are now only two valid species, the most important being S. enterica. Names are, however,
still given to the serovars of the seven subspecies of S. enterica, eg S. enterica subsp. enterica
serovar Typhi may be called S. Typhi for short, as these names are so familiar to
microbiologists. Found in the intestines of mammals - including man. Frequently found in
the food eaten by these animals. All serovars are pathogenic and cause diseases in man or
animals, usually of an alimentary nature. S. Typhi causes typhoid (enteric fever), other
serovars cause gastroenteritis and septicaemia.

Genus XXXIII Serratia (52-60) Straight rods with rounded ends, 0.5-0.8 x 0.9-2.0 µm.
Motile by peritrichous flagella, sometimes encapsulated. Gram-negative. Facultative
anaerobes. Citrate and acetate can be used as sole Carbon source. Many strains produce pink,
red or magenta pigment called prodigiosin. Distinguished from other genera by the
production of DNAase, lipase and proteinase. The type species, S. marcescens, is found in
water, soil and human patients. Opportunistic human pathogens.
Genus XXXIV Shigella (49-53) Straight rods, 1.0-3.0 x 0.7-1.0 µm. Non-motile, non-
capsulated rods. Gram-negative. Facultative anaerobes. Cannot use citrate as sole carbon
source and are sensitive to KCN. Glucose and other carbohydrates are fermented with
production of acid but not gas. Species differentiation is based on biochemical tests and on
serological reactions. The normal habitat of all Shigella species is the intestinal tract of man
and higher monkeys and all species produce bacillary dysentery eg type species S.
Genus XL Yersinia (46-50) Straight rods to coccobacilli, 0.5-0.8 x 1.0-3.0 µm. Non-motile
at 37° C but motile with peritrichous flagella when grown below 30° C. Gram-negative.
Facultative anaerobes. This genus was established in the l950's from species formerly
belonging to the genus Pasteurella (40-45). They were found to be more closely related to
the Enterobacteriaceae. They are ONPG+, lactose-, MR+, VP-, and urease+. Y. pestis which
causes plague (Black Death), Y. pseudotuberulosis and Y. enterocolitica (mesenteric
lymphadenitis and diarrhoea) are pathogens which may be isolated from foods contaminated
with faecal material, rodents and other animals, and soil.
Distinguishing characteristics of the five primary groups
Escherichia Klebsiella Proteus Yersinia Erwinia

Mixed acid + - - + +
2,3 Butanediol - + + - +

M.R. + D + +

V.P. - D D - D

Phenylalanine - - + - D
Nitrate + + + + D
Urease - D + D -

Growth in - + + - D
Optimal temp. 37oC 37oC 37oC 28-29oC 27-30oC
for growth
G+C% 48-52 53-58 38-41 46-50 49.8-54.1

D - Depends on species
Order XIII Pasteurellales

Genus III Haemophilus (37-44) Coccobacilli to rods, generally less than 1µm in width and
variable in length. Although normally rod-shaped, the cells may become very pleiomorphic,
especially in pathological material. Gram-negative. Non-motile. Aerobic or facultatively
anaerobic. Members of this genus are nutritionally fastidious will not grow on meat infusion
agar and require the addition of X = haemin and/or V = NAD factor to support growth.
Numerous species are described that are differentiated by their requirements for X, V and
other growth factors; X-factor is contained in blood and V-factor in yeast extract; both are
available in chocolate agar. They are obligate parasites but may or may not be pathogenic.
Found in various lesions and secretions, as well as in normal respiratory tracts, of vertebrates.
The type species, H. influenzae, causes purulent meningitis and conjunctivitis in man. H.
influenzae serovar type b is a major source of meningitis in children, especially those
attending daycare centres. Other species are pathogenic for man causing subacute
endocarditis, acute and subacute conjunctivitis and soft chancre. Several species produce
similar syndromes in other vertebrate animals. H. influenzae is the first cellular organism to
have its genome fully sequenced.
Class IV Deltaproteobacteria
Order II Desulfovibrionales
Genus I Desulfovibrio (46.1-61.2) Curved or occasionally straight rods, 0.5-1.5 x 2.5-10 µm.
Motile. Gram-negative. Obligate anaerobes. Causes blackening of anaerobic soils and
corrosion of iron pipes and foundations, by the formation of FeS. Very important in industry
because of their primary role in the anaerobic corrosion of iron in pipelines, heating systems
and other structures.
Order VI Bdellovibrionales

Genus I Bdellovibrio (33-52) Comma shaped, 0.2-0.4 x 0.5-1.4 µm. Gram-negative.

Aerobic. Motile by means of a single polar flagellum. This genus consists of a group of
remarkable bacteria which are predacious upon other Gram-negative bacteria.
Bdellovibrios exhibit a morphologically biphasic life cycle, alternating between a non-
growing predatory phase and an intracellular reproductive phase. The highly motile
bdellovibrio attaches to the generally much larger prey (other Gram-negative bacteria) and
then rapidly penetrates into the prey's periplasmic space. The prey is killed early in the
attack and is functionally a substrate for bdellovibrio development. The bdellovibrio
elongates into a snake form, then fragments into motile, unit sized predacious vibrios.
Order VII Myxococcales
The vegetative Gram-negative cells are flexible rods of low refractility which exhibit gliding
movement on solid surfaces and which multiply by transverse binary fission to produce a
thin, flat, rapidly extending colony. Actively motile cells at the periphery of the colony
commonly occur as groups of 2 or 3 to several hundred individuals in the form of tongue-like
extensions or isolated islands whose presence is virtually diagnostic of the order. The
moving cells may pave the substrate with a thin layer of slime, on which they move. They
are aerobic chemoorganotrophs. Resting cells (myxospores) are formed by all myxobacters
when vegetative cells aggregate to form fruiting bodies. Fruiting bodies are macroscopic and
often brightly coloured. Most known myxobacteria occur in soil and frequently develop on
decomposing plant material, the bark of living trees or animal dung.
Genus I Myxococcus (68-71) Vegetative cells are slender rods with tapering ends, 0.8 x 3.0-
6.0 µm. When typical the fruiting bodies are soft, slimy globular masses, knobs or heads,
constricted at the base or on a slime stalk. Gram-negative. Aerobic. Exhibit gliding motility.
Commonly found in soil.
Class V Epsilonproteobacteria

Order I Campylobacterales

Genus I Campylobacter (29-47) Slender, spirally curved rods, 0.2-0.8 µm x 0.5-5 µm long.
Gram-negative. Microaerophilic. Motile with corkscrew-like motion by means of a single
polar flagellum at one or both ends of the cell.. Found in reproductive organs, intestinal tract
and oral cavity of animals and man. Some species are pathogenic to animal and man.
Genus I Helicobacter (24-48) Curved, spiral or fusiform rods, 0.2-1.2 x 1.5-10 µm. Gram-
negative. Motile with rapid corkscrew or slower flagella-mediated motility. Multiple
sheathed flagella. Microaerophilic, respiratory metabolism. Many species produce urease.
Many species pathogenic for humans and animals. Found in intestinal tract, oral cavity and
gastric mucosa. H. pylori causes gastric ulcers in humans, and is associated with gastric
Phylum BXIII Firmicutes
Class I Clostridia

Order I Clostridiales
Genus I Clostridium (22-55) Rod-shaped organisms, capable of producing endospores,
although in some instances only under critical conditions. Sporangia generally swollen;
spores may be oval, cylindrical or spherical, and may occur in a central, subterminal or
terminal position, depending on the species. Most species are obligately anaerobic although
tolerance to oxygen varies widely; some species will grow but not sporulate and vice versa.
Motile by means of peritrichous flagella, occasionally non-motile. Generally Gram-positive
at least in very early stages of growth. Species differentiation is based on morphological,
physiological and biochemical differences. Many species are predominantly saccharolytic
and fermentative, producing various acids (generally butyric and acetic), gases (CO2, H2 and
at times, CH4) and variable amounts of neutral products, i.e. alcohols and acetone. Other
species are predominantly proteolytic and capable of attacking native and coagulated proteins
with putrefaction or more complete proteolysis. Several species are active in the fixation of
free nitrogen. Strictly anaerobic or anaerobic-aerotolerant. Exotoxins are sometimes
produced. Commonly found in soil and in the intestinal tracts of man and animals. Some
species are pathogenic to man and animals. Certain strains of C. botulinum produce a
powerful exotoxin which is the cause of botulism (food-poisoning); they are found in soil.
C. tetani (spores round and terminal) causes tetanus. Many other species e.g. C. perfringens
(in which spores are rarely seen) have been isolated from cases of gas gangrene in man and
animals. Some species are used in industrial processes (e.g. C. acetobutylicum is used for the
commercial production of butyl alcohol and acetone). C. sporogenes (which is highly
proteolytic) produces many spores which are oval, subterminal and distend cell. Following
sporulation, the vegetative cell may disintegrate rapidly to leave free spores.
Genus VIII Sarcina (28-31) Spherical organisms in which division occurs, under favourable
conditions, in three perpendicular planes, producing regular packets. Gram-positive. Non-
motile. Strict anaerobes. Commonly found in soil, water, sewage and mud; less commonly
found in the intestinal tracts of vertebrates.

Class II Mollicutes

Order I Mycoplasmatales
Very small procaryotes completely devoid of cell walls. They are the smallest bacteria
capable of self-reproduction. Bounded by a plasma membrane only. Incapable of synthesis
of peptidoglycan and its precursors. Consequently resistant to penicillin and its analogues,
and sensitive to lysis by osmotic shock and detergents. Possess a peculiar mode of
reproduction (according to some observers) characterized by the breaking up of filaments
(with a more or less pronounced tendency to true branching) into coccoid, filterable
elementary bodies. The cell bodies are soft and fragile; without special precautions they are
often distorted or entirely destroyed in microscopical preparations. Pleiomorphic, varying in
shape from spherical or pear shaped structures to branched or helical filaments. Usually non-
motile but some species show gliding motility on liquid covered surfaces. Gram-negative.
Under suitable conditions, most species form colonies that have a characteristic "fried egg"
appearance. Apart from the free living thermoacidophiles all mollicutes are parasites,
commensals or saprophytes, and many are pathogens of man, animals, plants and insects.
Typical endospores are never produced. Growth occurs in agar media, although most of the
species have exacting nutritional requirements. Pathogenic and saprophytic species occur
(23-46). Genome size is about 5 x 108 daltons and is among the smallest recorded in
Genus I Mycoplasma (23-40) Pleiomorphic, varying in shape from spherical, slightly ovoid
or pear shaped, 0.3-0.8 x 2.0-150 µm to slender branched filaments. Usually non-motile but
some have gliding motility. Facultative anaerobes. Gram-negative. M. pneumoniae is
responsible for atypical pneumonia.
Order IV Anaeroplasmatales
Genus I Erysipelothrix (36-40). Rod-shaped organisms with a tendency to form long
filaments. The filaments may also thicken and show characteristic granules. Non-motile.
Gram-positive. Aerobic. Only one species (E. rhusiopathiae) is described. It is pathogenic,
causing swine erysipelas, human erysipeloid, mouse septicaemia, and infections in sheep,
birds and fish.
Class III Bacilli
Order I Bacillales
Genus I Bacillus (32-69). Rod-shaped cells, sometimes in chains, capable of producing
endospores which, in more than 50% of the species, are wider than the rod. Spores may be
elliptical or spherical, and central, sub-terminal or terminal. Cells may have rounded or
square ends. Gram-positive. Aerobic or facultatively anaerobic. Generally motile by means
of peritrichous flagella. Maximum temperatures for growth vary greatly, not only between
species, but also between strains of the same species. Variations in other characters (e.g.
colonial morphology, biochemical activities) frequently occur within a species. Mostly
saprophytes, commonly found in soil. A few species are pathogenic. B. anthracis causes
anthrax in man and animals. Other species cause diseases of insects. Species differentiation
is based on morphological and a wide range of physiological characters, many of which show
variation from strain to strain. B. cereus rods tend to form chains. Their extracellular
products include haemolysin. Spores are widespread. Multiplication of B. cereus has been
observed chiefly in foods and may lead to food poisoning.

Genus I Listeria (36-38). Small rods with rounded ends, 0.4-0.5 x 0.5-2.0 µm, motile by
means of peritrichous flagella. Gram-positive. Aerobic and facultatively anaerobic. L.
monocytogenes is pathogenic to man and other mammals, producing a disease called
monocytosis and characterized by a marked increase in the number of monucuclear
leucocytes in the blood. The source of Listeria infections is dairy products and paté.
Genus I Staphylococcus (30-39) Spherical cells 0.5-1.5 µm in diameter occurring singly, in
pairs, and in irregular clusters; facultative anaerobes, growing very well anaerobically in the
presence of a fermentable carbohydrate, but growing even better aerobically. Gram-positive.
Require amino-nitrogen for growth (c.f. Micrococcus) and usually two or more vitamins
(frequently thiamine and nicotinic acid). Strongly catalase-positive and salt-tolerant.
Frequently found on the skin, in skin glands, on the nasal and other mucous membranes of
warm-blooded animals and in a variety of food products. There are now approx. 20 species
recognized in the genus; their colonies may be pigmented white or golden yellow. S. aureus
is the common cause of boils, carbuncles and other purulent diseases. Colonies are usually a
golden yellow, but white variants may appear. The pathogenic strains are coagulase-positive,
and may produce a variety of toxins, including a potent enterotoxin which is a significant
cause of food poisoning. S. epidermidis, a white form, is a common inhabitant of human
skin; it is coagulase-negative. S. saprophyticus, growing mostly in white colonies, has been
isolated from urine. It is common in air, soil and dust.
Order II Lactobacillales

Genus I Lactobacillus (32-53) Straight or curved rod-shaped organisms usually occurring

singly or in chains, sometimes in filaments; occasionally show bifurcations and rudimentary
branching. Gram-positive. Non-motile; Microaerophilic; surface growth on solid media
generally enhanced by anaerobiasis or reduced oxygen pressure and 5% CO2; some are
anaerobes on isolation. Heterotrophic; grow poorly on meat infusion agar but well on media
containing carbohydrates and yeast extract. Pigmentation is rare. Occasional yellow, orange,
or rust red colonies are produced. The genus may be divided into three groups on the basis
of the products of fermentation of carbohydrates: glucose is converted quantitatively by
homofermentative species (e.g. L. acidophilus) to lactic acid and by the first group of
heterofermentative species (e.g. L. brevis) to 50% lactic acid with amounts of acetic acid,
ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide as well. The third group produces lactic acid, acetic acid
and CO2 and is less well known. Optimal pH for growth is around 5.
The morphology of the organisms varies with the species and condition of cultivation. Some
species, principally homofermentative ones, retain the simple rod-shape throughout their
growth. Many of the other species produce uniform rods in the early stages of development
but become extremely pleiomorphic while the colonies are still microscopic in size.
Bifurcations are common with L. bifidus. Species differentiation is based on the nature of
by-products of fermentation, fermentation of lactose, temperature of growth and optical
rotation of acid produced. Frequently, found in fermenting plant juices, nearly always in
association with yeasts, since both are aciduric. Always found in mature cheese of the
cheddar type, in the faeces of milk-fed infants and in the vaginal canal. Homofermentative
species are important in the industrial production of lactic acid.
Genus I Streptococcus (34-46) The genus is very large (approx. 30 species) and very
different characteristics are used in identifying a particular species. Spherical or ovoid cells,
rarely elongated into rods, occurring in pairs or short or long chains. Transient capsule
formation occurs in body fluids with some pathogenic species. Generally non-motile and
non-pigmented. Gram-positive. Anaerobes; carbohydrate fermentation is homofermentative
with dextrorotatory lactic acid as the dominant end-product. Growth of most species will
occur on meat infusion agar, but in greatly improved by blood or carbohydrates. Colonies
are rarely more than 1 mm in diameter and may vary in surface appearance from mucoid to
smooth to rough. On horse blood agar, colonies are often surrounded by a zone in which the
blood pigments have undergone some form of alteration. These alterations are classed as
Alpha (a) haemolysis: a greenish zone around the colonies in which the red blood cells
remain intact, but there is an alteration in the haematin pigments.
Beta (b) haemolysis: a water-clear zone around the colony from which the red pigment and
cells have completely disappeared.
Gamma (g) haemolysis: no change at all.
Differentiation of species is based on numerous characteristics, including haemolysis of
blood, salt and dye tolerances and growth limiting pH values. Serological tests, specifically
the Lancefield precipitin technique, have proved to be of distinct value in classifying the
streptococci. Most streptococci possess a serologically active, group specific 'C' substance
(frequently a polysaccharide), thus allowing them to be placed in serological groups by the
precipitin technique. The remaining group comprises numerous a-haemolytic forms that
cannot be serologically classified by this means: although they possess demonstrable type
antigens, these have been of little taxonomic value.
The streptococci are commonly found wherever organic matter containing sugars is
accumulated. Species which are pathogenic to man and animals occur mainly on those hosts.
In man, b-haemolytic streptococci are associated with a wide variety of disease entities and in
the vast majority of these acute infections, the causative organisms belong to Lancefield's
serological group A (streptococci of groups C and G are sometimes implicated in similar, but
less acute, infections).

Group A streptococci are capable of elaborating a wide variety of biologically active

substances, including toxins and enzymes and are responsible for such infections as sore
throats, tonsillitis, scarlet fever, erysipelas and rheumatic fever. Other groups (e.g. B, C and
D) are important animal pathogens, causing such diseases as mastitis in cattle and strangles in
horses. Lactic acid producing streptococci, which are responsible for the souring of milk
and which are used commercially in cheese manufacture are widespread in milk and milk

Because of the diversity of the streptococci Bergey's Manual edition 1 has divided the
streptococci into six groups. Such groupings have in most cases no strict taxonomic validity,
but provide a framework within which to describe various aspects.
The six groups are outlined below and the table shows four of these groups.
1. Pyogenic haemolytic streptococci - Most produce b haemolysis on BA (exception is S.
pneumoniae) and usually contain a polysaccharide antigen in the cell wall. Pathogenic for
man and animals and usually associated with pus formation. In chains (except S.
pneumoniae, in pairs) The two major pathogens in this group are S. pyogenes (streptococcal
sore throat, acute glomerulonephritis, rheumatic fever etc.) and S. pneumoniae (lobar
2. Oral streptococci - Found in the oral cavity and upper respiratory tract of man and animals.
The type of haemolysis is not consistent; they are opportunistic pathogens. eg S. mutans
which is responsible for dental caries. S. mitis produces a pronounced a-haemolysis on BA.
Found in human saliva, sputum and faeces. Forms long chains in broth cultures.
3. Enterococci - Normal residents of the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. Unlike other
streptococci, the enterococci will grow in 6.5% sodium chloride. Now (Bergey’s Manual ed.
2) placed in their own family in genus Enterococcus. E. faecalis is an opportunistic pathogen
(b-haemolytic) which can cause urinary tract infections and endocarditis and E. gallinarum
(a-haemolytic) causes disease in poultry.

4. Lactic acid streptococci - Grow at 10oC or less but not at 45oC, Optimum growth
temperature is near 30oC. S. lactis is widely used in the production of buttermilk and cheese
because it can curdle milk and add flavour through the synthesis of diacetyl and other
metabolic products.
5. Anaerobic streptococci
6. Other streptococci
Properties of selected streptococci
Pyogenic Oral Enterococci Lactic acid
Streptococci Streptococci Streptococci
Characteristics S. pyogenes S. pneumoniae S. mitis S.mutans E. faecalis S.
Growth at 10oC - - - - + +
Growth at 45oC - - d d + -
Growth at 6.5% NaCl - - - - + -
Growth at pH 9.6 - - - - + -
Growth with 40% bile - - d d + +
a- haemolysis - + + - - d
b- haemolysis + - - - + -
Arginine hydolysis + + + - + d
Hippurate hydrolysis - - - - + d
Mol % G+C of DNA 35-39 30-39 38-40 36-38 34-38 39
Phylum BXIV Actinobacteria
Class I Actinobacteria

Subclass V Actinobacteridae
Order I Actinomycetales
Suborder I Actinomycineae

Genus I Actinomyces (59-73) Straight or slightly curved rods. Gram-positive. Normal

inhabitants of mucosal surfaces of humans and other warm-blooded animals.
Suborder VII Corynebacterineae
In general, the diphtheroid organisms are straight to slightly curved rods, not acid-fast, with
irregularly stained segments, sometimes granules. Frequently show club-shaped swellings;
the cells of many species, when examined in stained smears from agar plate cultures, appear
to be arranged in palisade (picket-fence) or Chinese letter forms. This phenomenon is due to
the "snapping division" which results in V-shaped cell groups. Generally non-motile.
Generally the cell walls have peptidoglycan cross-linked to diamino pimelic acid (DAP).
Aerobic or facultatively anaerobic.
Genus I Corynebacterium (51-78). Straight to slightly curved rods with tapered ends.
Snapping division produces angular and palisade arrangement of cells. Gram-positive. The
best known are parasites and pathogens on man and domestic animals. Other species have
been found in birds and several are well known plant pathogens: some species are commonly
found in dairy products.
The type species, C. diphtheriae causes diphtheria in man. A potent exotoxin is the principal
virulence factor of this organism. Other species mainly cause caseous lesions on various
parts of the body. C. diphtheriae are straight or slightly curved rods, frequently swollen at
both ends; usually stain unevenly and often contain metachromatic granules which stain
bluish-purple with methylene blue. The ability to produce a toxin is determined by the
presence of the prophage carrying a specific determinant called tox+ and toxiginicity is
induced in non-toxigenic strains by making them lysogenic for phages of this type. C.
xerosis has barred rods with occasional granules and club forms. It is generally non-
pathogenic but may cause endocarditis or pneumonia in severely ill patients or those on
steroids. Originally isolated from conjunctiva. Inhabits skin and mucosal membrane of man.
Cells may be unbranched or have rudimentary branching; non-motile; acid-fast (hydrophobic
so some species do not stain readily with water-soluble dyes); aerobic; slow growing and rod-
Genus I Mycobacterium (62-70) Straight to slightly curved rods 0.2-0.6 x 1.0-10 µm. No
conidia. Not readily stained by Gram’s method but considered to be Gram-positive. The
organisms are heterotrophic; species differentiation is based on habitat and cultural
characteristics. Soil species can be cultivated on media with simple carbon compounds (e.g.
citrate, succinate and malate) with ammonia nitrogen.
Parasites of cold-blooded animals and fish are cultured readily on meat infusion agar.
Pathogens of warm-blooded animals require complex media for good growth and develop
slowly even on these. Media commonly employed usually contain glycerol and egg. Two
species are obligate parasites and have not been cultivated apart from living cells. One of
these M. leprae, causes human leprosy. The type species, M. tuberculosis, causes primarily
human tuberculosis.On most solid media colonies are rough, raised, thick with a nodular or
wrinkled surface. May become pigmented (off-white or even yellow). In liquid media forms
a pellicle. Other species cause tuberculosis in a variety of animals often showing a
predilection for a particular host. Mycobacterium is acid fast, due to high lipid content
(mycolic acid) in cell wall.

They produce well-defined mycelium which later fragment completely into branched or
unbranched bacillary elements; aerobic, some are motile with flagella; acid fastness occurs in
some species; some species cause nocardiosis for man and animals, causing mainly abscesses
and mycetomae in various regions of the body. The nature and distribution of the human and
animal infections suggest that all the pathogenic species are soil inhabitants

Genus I Nocardia (64-72) Rudimentary to extensively branched vegetative hyphae. Spores

not on differentiated hyphae; reproductive bodies are mycelial fragments. Gram-positive to
Gram variable. Aerobic.
Suborder XI Streptomycineae
Genus I Streptomyces (69-78) Vegatative hyphae 0.5-2.0 µm in diameter produce an
extensively branched mycelium that rarely fragments. The aerial mycelium at maturity forms
chains of three to many spores. Form discrete and lichenoid, leathery colonies. Produce a
wide variety of pigments responsible for the colour of the vegetative and aerial mycelia.
Many strains produce one or more antibiotics (eg streptomycin, chloramphenicol,
erythromycin, amphotericin B, neomycin, nystatin, tetracycline). Aerobes. Use a wide range
of organic compounds as sole sources of carbon for energy and growth. They are widely
distributed and abundant in soil. A few species are pathogenic for animals and man, others
are phytopathogens. Most have a pronounced earthy odour which is largely the result of the
production of volatile substances such as geosmin. They are very flexible nutritionally and
can aerobically degrade resistant substances such as pectin, lignin, chitin, keratin and latex.
Phylum BXVI Chlamydiae
Class I Chlamydiae

Order I Chlamidiales

Genus I Chlamydia (41-44) Is a non-motile Gram-negative coccoid organism 0.2-1.5 µm,
multiplying only within membrane bound vacuoles in the cytoplasm of host cells by means
of a unique developmental cycle characterized by change of small elementary bodies into
larger reticulate bodies that divide by fission. The cycle is complete when reticulate bodies
reorganize and condense into a new generation of elementary bodies which survive
extracellularly to infect other host cells. Chlamydiae cause a variety of diseases in humans,
other mammals, and birds. Multiplication of chlamydiae outside of host cells has not been
achieved. Chlamydiae rely on their hosts for high energy compounds and low molecular
weight synthetic intermediates. Cannot utilize glutamate and do not possess cytochromes,
flavins and reactions which produce ATP. The genome size is among the smallest of all
procaryotes, 4-6 x 108 daltons.
Chlamydia are among the most widely distributed of all parasites of animals. Humans are
the natural hosts for C. trachomatis. In developing countries some strains of C. trachomatis
cause millions of cases of trachoma, a chronic, potentially blinding keroconjunctivitis. In
industrialized countries other strains are among the most common sexually transmitted agents
of disease. C. psittaci is a parasite of animals other than man. Practically all species of
birds, most domestic mammals and many wild mammals are natural hosts. It is a major
cause of infectious disease in colonies of koalas in Australia. C. psittaci may induce a wide
range of clinical manifestations, respiratory and intestinal infections, conjunctivitis,
polyarthritis, foetal death and abortion, as well as genital disease. Arthropods may harbor C.
psittaci but their role as agents of transmission has not been proved. Mammalian strains of
C. psittaci do not readily infect man but some avian strains are highly infectious and produce
the human disease psittacosis.

Phylum BXVII Spirochaetes

Class I Spirochaetes
Order I Spirochaetales

Flexible, helically shaped, motile bacteria, 0.1-3 µm and 5-250 µm in length (ie slender and
long). Chemoheterotrophic. Gram-negative. Multiplication is by transverse fision, no sexual
cycle being known. Free living or in association with animal and human hosts. Some species
are pathogenic. The outermost structure of the helical cell is a multilayered membrane
referred to as "outer sheath". The outer sheath completely surrounds the protoplasmic
cylinder, which consists of the cytoplasmic and nuclear regions enclosed by the cytoplasmic
membrane-cell wall complex. Around the helical protoplasmic cylinder are wound
periplasmic flagella (which are sometimes called axial fibrils, axial filaments and flagella).
The periplasmic flagella are enclosed by the outer sheath and, thus, are located between this
membrane and the protoplasmic cylinder. The number of periplasmic flagella ranges from 2
to more than 100/cell depending on the species. One end of each flagellum is inserted near
the pole of the protoplasmic cylinder, and the other end is not inserted. The periplasmic
flagella are components of the motility apparatus of the cell and perform functions essential
for the locomotion and for other movements typical of spirochetes. The periplasmic flagella
of spirochetes are similar to other bacterial flagella in ultrastructure and in certain chemical
characteristics. However, unlike other bacterial flagella, the periplasmic flagella are (a)
permanently wound around the cell body, and (b) entirely endocellular, being enclosed by the
outer sheath. Thus, the motility of spirochetes differs from that of other bacteria because
spirochetes suspended in liquids are able to locomote even though their cells do not have
flagella that propel them by rotating in direct contact with the external environment. This
motility consists of a rapid whirling or spinning about the long axis, which actively drives the
organism forward or backward. They can thus move through very viscous solutions.
Genus I Spirochaeta (51-65) Slender, flexuous bodies, 0.2-0.75 µm in diameter and 5 to 250
µm in length in the form of spirals with at least one complete turn. All forms are motile with
2 periplasmic flagella. Obligate (or facultative) anaerobes. Indigenous to aquatic
environments such as sediments, mud and water ponds, marshes, swamps lakes and rivers.
Occur commonly in H2S containing environments, such as sewage and polluted water. Free-
living. None reported to be pathogenic.
Genus II Borrelia (mol% G+C not known) Helical cells composed of 3-10 loose coils, 0.2-
0.5 x 3-20 µm, generally taper terminally into fine filaments. Stain easily with ordinary
aniline dyes. Anaerobic. Parasitic upon many forms of animal life. Some are pathogenic for
man, others animals or birds. Some are transmitted by bites of ticks and lice. Differentiation
is based solely on source, mode of transmission and the nature of the infection. Many
species cause relapsing fever in man. B. burgdorferi is responsible for Lyme disease.
Genus IX Treponema (25-54) Helical rods, 0.1-0.4 x 5-20 µm Cells have tight regular or
irregular spirals. Terminal filament may be present. Some species stain only with Giemsa's
stain. Cultivated under strictly anaerobic conditions. Some are pathogenic and parasitic for
man and other animals. Generally produce local lesions in tissues. The type species, T.
pallidum, causes syphilis in man.
Genus II Leptospira (35-41, except one which is 53). Finely coiled organisms, 6-20 x 0.1
µm, hooked at one or both ends. Obligately aerobic. Stain with difficulty, except with
Giemsa's stain and silver impregnation. One species is parasitic and pathogenic; the other is
saprophytic. Numerous serotypes of the pathogenic L. interrogenes have been identified by
agglutination-lysis and cross absorption tests. It causes leptospirosis in man. L. biflexa, a free
living leptospira, grows in aerobic water and moist soils.
Phylum BXX Bacteroidetes
Class I Bacteroides

Order I Bacteroidales
Genus I Bacteroides (28-61) Rod shaped organisms, with rounded or pointed ends, which
vary in size from minute forms to long, filamentous, branching forms; marked pleomorphism
may occur. May be motile or non-motile. Gram-negative. Body fluids are frequently
required for growth and are always stimulatory. Normally, they are strict anaerobes, usually
catalase negative, but occasionally microaerophilic species occur. Cells may be pleiomorphic
when grown in media that are not highly reduced.
Class III Sphingobacteria
Order I Sphingobacteriales
Genus III Cytophaga (30-45) Very short to moderately long rods, 0.3-0.8 x 1.5-15 µm.
Flexible, sometimes pointed rods showing gliding motility. Do not produce resting cells or
fruiting bodies. Gram-negative. Some are obligate halophiles. Most have been cultured on
various media, including filter paper, silica gels, glucose mineral salts media, starch agar,
peptone agar and sea water peptone agar. In the more restrictive media, growth is in the
form of a barely visibly produced film on the surface. On richer media raised moist colonies
may be produced and are usually pigmented yellow, orange, pink, olive-green or grey.
Information on biochemical tests is fragmentary. Found in rotting vegetable matter, in soil
and water, both fresh and marine.