Applied and environmental microbiology

Morphological and physiological characteristics of Gemmiger formicilis isolated from chicken ceca.

PMID 984834


Morphological and physiological studies were made on chicken cecal isolates of the strictly anaerobic bacterial species Gemmiger formicilis. Structural features (phase-contrast and electron microscopy) of these microorganisms indicate they (i) are highly pleomorphic, (ii) possess a trilaminar cell wall like gram-negative bacteria, (iii) exhibit an unusual growth process characterized by polar swelling (resembling budding bacteria), and (iv) grow into elongated cells when exposed to a subinhibitory concentration of penicillin. The morphological data presented suggest that this species has a rod-shaped structure. These bacteria ferment a variety of sugars to produce formic, butyric, and lactic acids. There appear to be two groups of Gemmiger, one producing primarily lactate and the other producing formate as major fermentation metabolites. Growth of six strains in a basal medium, consisting of Trypticase, minerals, carbohydrate, Na2CO3 buffer, and cysteine as reducing agent, was stimulated by rumen fluid and yeast extract. Volatile fatty acids partially replaced the requirement for rumen fluid with some strains. Single deletions of vitamins (from a defined vitamin mixture) indicated that pantothenate, riboflavin, and thiamine were highly stimulatory to growth of the organism in a medium containing rumen fluid and Trypticase as source of vitamins. Other vitamin requirements were not studied.

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Penicillin G sodium salt, ~1650 U/mg