Gemmiger formicilis
James W. Younce

Gemmiger formicilis is an hour-glass shaped bacteria whose name in Latin means bud bearer.  For our purposes let's simply call this critter Bud.  I chose Bud when looking through "Bergey's Manual" and noticed this unique bacteria somewhat shaped like a dumbbell.  Soon I found out that what I had seen were two bowling pin shaped bacteria joined at the smaller ends - How neat that Bud and other members of his society will go through life with someone, a partner to share with and forever be a pain in his side.  As I read about Bud, I found out that he was discovered by Gossling and Moore in 1975.  They were the lucky ones to first see his unique appearance and get to name him and his friends.  Bud can be between 0.9-2.5 micrometers long and up to 1.0 micrometer wide.  These non spore-forming individuals may form chains when rapidly growing, showing that they really are quite a social critter even though they are non-motile.  Bud is Gram-variable to Gram-negative which is an important status symbol in the bacterial world.  When looking at Bud under a light microscope he is usually seen as a pair of cocci with the smaller resembling a blidding yeast.  However, using electron microscopy Bud's whole form is apparent.  Bud's colony, after a couple days growth, is usually 1-2 nun in diameter, circular, entire, smooth, and low convex.  Different mediums produce different colors ranging from clear to white.  Now Bud, though he may appear to be a cool cat, likes to hang out in the wrong places.  Bud likes the warmth and comfort of intestines in humans and animals; he makes up about 1-2% of the human fecal bacteria.  Carbohydrates are Bud's favorite food.  Most like glucose, but some rebels enjoy maltose for a change of diet.  They ferment these sugars to butyrate and usually formate and lactate along with other compounds like acetate, pyruvate, and many more; interestingly, Bud is not a gassy individual and can ferment a wide range of compounds without having to worry about his manners.  He doesn't reduce nitrate or produce indole or urease.  Bud has been compared to anaerobic intestinal bacilli like Eubacterium and Bacteriocidae but Bud has a higher mol% G+C content than those critters.  His way of dividing may be similar to Ancalomicrobium but they have an even higher mol% G+C than Bud.  So, Bud has been grouped with the anaerobic cocci, but when exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of penicillin, Bud forms filaments which doesn't indicate the typical coccal lifestyle.  Can Bud be classified for sure?  That's stilt up for grabs.  However, in my eyes, Bud is a special little critter who deserves his own class.  We should leave him and his friends alone to wallow in the intestines of animals and be content to break down sugars as they have to accept and live with their abnormal appearance together.

Reference:
Bergey's Manual pp 1971-1973

*Disclaimer - This report was written by a student participaring in a microbiology course at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The accuracy of the contents of this report is not guaranteed and it is recommended that you seek additional sources of information to verify the contents.

 

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