Bacillus are microscopic bacteria whose main characteristic is that they have an elongated or rod shape. Certain bacilli (such as Koch’s) are responsible for diseases in humans, while others are used in the food industry, such as lactobacilli.
What is Bacillus?
Bacilli are elongated rod-shaped bacteria that generally live in the soil or in the mucous membranes of humans and animals. They are prokaryotic cells that are usually immobile, since they do not have a flagellum (organ responsible for mobility that is similar to a tail) to mobilize.
Bacilli are classified according to their presentation:
Diplobacilli: these are united in pairs.
Streptobacilli: those that join together at their tips forming chains.
Vibrios: those that present a hidden convexity (prominent curve)
Coccobacilli : those that are slightly rounded.
In the same way, the bacilli can adopt different formations, either in a “V” or also in the “shape of Chinese letters”, when they join together.
Types of Bacillus
The bacilli are divided into:
– Gram positive bacilli: These are bacilli that, due to their thick peptidoglycan cell wall, stain blue or violet with Gram stain (a color used in bacteriology to improve visual contrast in the microscope).
Gram-positive bacilli are anaerobic. These bacilli secrete proteases (enzymes that degrade immune proteins) and adhere to mucosal surfaces. Their waste is toxic (acidic).
– Gram negative bacilli : They are characterized by not staining blue or violet but rather a faint pink because their cell wall is thinner, which causes a different pigmentation.
Many have an external wall formed by a lipopolysaccharide, which helps them have toxic properties with the ability to generate endotoxin from gram-negative bacteria.
The reason why the bacilli were divided in this way is to be more effective when applying treatments to counteract diseases.
Some examples of Bacillus
– Bacillus Aertrycke: It is a gram-negative bacillus that causes salmonella. It resides mainly in the liver and is transmitted from one host to another mainly by handling contaminated animals or food.
– Eberth’s bacillus: Bacillus responsible for typhoid fever, a disease that is transmitted when fecal particles are ingested either through contaminated water or food.
– Niconaier bacillus: It is a gram-positive anaerobic bacillus responsible for tetanus disease, which affects the nervous system causing spasms and strong muscle contractions.
– Lactobacilli: They are gram-positive and generally anaerobic bacilli. Lactobasils are used in the food industry since they convert lactose and monosaccharides into lactic acid, which is why it is used in the production of yogurt.
– Koch bacillus: It is the bacteria
responsible for tuberculosis. “Koch” is an aerobic bacteria resistant to cold, which can cause disease in any organ of the body, the lungs being the most common.
Bacillus Lower Classifications
The term “Bacillus” refers to a genus of bacteria that are characterized by their rod-shaped (bacillus) morphology. Bacillus bacteria are Gram-positive, aerobic or facultatively anaerobic, and can form endospores.
Here are some lower classifications within the genus Bacillus:
- Bacillus subtilis
- Bacillus cereus
- Bacillus anthracis
- Bacillus thuringiensis
- Bacillus coagulans
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