Cross Index Beggiatoa alba
SuperSet Prokaryote, Eubacteria Gliding Bacteria
Compare Cytophagales, Beggiatoales

Single Celled, rod shaped Capnocytophaga, Chitinophaga pinensis , Cytophaga, Flexibacter, Flexithrix dorotheae, Lysobacter, Microscilla, Sporocytophaga myxococcoides, Thermomena,
Flattened, filamentous Gliding: Alysiella filiformis, Simonsiella,
Sulfur oxidizing,Gliding: Achromatium, Beggiatoa alba, Thioploca, Thiospirillopsis floridana, Thiothrix nivea,
The Pelonemas: Achroanema spp, Desmanthos thiorenophilum, Pelenema, Peloploca,
Other Genera: Agitococcus lubricus , Desulfonema Herpetosiphon, Isosphaera pallida, Leucothrix mucor, Saprospira, Toxothrix trichogenes,Vitreoscilla

Contrast Archaea

Herpetosiphon, Thioploca and Thiothrix nivea which also have sheaths are a lso included in the Sheathed heterotrophs . The genus Lyngbya which is one of the cyanobacteria also has a sheath.

Sheathed heterotrophs :Clonothrix fusca Crenothrix polyspora, Haliscomenobacter hydrossis, Leptothrix, Lieskeella bifida Phragmidiothrix multiseptata Sphaerotilus natans , Thioploca, Thiothrix nivea, Herpetosiphon



Morphology Beggiatoa alba
Staining Gram-negative
Morphology Colourless cells, about 1.50 um in diameter and about 2-10 um in length, occur in filaments with diameters of from about 1 to > 50 um. Organisms may exist as single cells or in filaments containing up to 50 or more cells. Cells in filaments are cylindrical and are longer than they are wide in the thinner strains (about < 7 um in diameter). In wider strains (about > 7 um in diameter), cells are usually disk-shaped and typically are wider than they are long. Filaments occur singly or in cottony masses in which each filament retains its individuality
Motility Hormogonia and filaments are motile by gliding; no motility organelles are known. Gliding is relatively rapid (1-8 um s-1) and is often accompanied by flexing and bending of the filaments.
Specialized structures Reproduction is by transverse binary fission of cells within filaments; divisions are made by septation, in which the peptidoglycan and cytoplasmic membranes close like the iris of a diaphragm. Filament dispersion is via sacrificial cell death (necridial cells) and filament breakage or via simple disintegration. With some strains, the disintegration of filaments occurs until mostly single or double cell units (hormogonia) exist; a hormogonium then may grow to become a filament. Cells contain inclusions of sulfur when they are grown in the presence of hydrogen sulfide and, with some strains, thiosulfate. Intracellular inclusions of poly-B-hydroxybutyric acid (PHB) or polyphosphate may be present. Resting stages are not known. Attachment holdfasts or sheaths are not present. Capsules are not formed, but filaments usually produce a slime matrix.
Solid surface Gliding motility determines the nature of growth and colony formation; on agar media containing relatively few nutrients, spiral colonies are usually produced.


Growth Parameters Beggiatoa alba
Tropism Chemoorganotrophic and facultatively autotrophic. Some strains may also grow mixotrophically. Only a marine strain has thus far been proven to grow autotrophically
Oxygen Aerobic or microaerophilic. Metabolism is respiratory with molecular oxygen used as the terminal electron acceptor. Internally stored sulfur may also serve as an electron acceptor for short term maintenance in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic growth is not known. Nitrate, nitrite or sulfate does not substitute as the terminal electron acceptor for anaerobic growth in strains thus far studied.
Temperature Growth may occur between 0 and 40`C. Thermophilic strains have not been characterized, although some beggiatoas have been observed in high temperature runoffs associated with thermal springs.
Requirements Growth factors are not required by most strains; some strains may require vitamin B12 H2S or thiosulfate may be used as the electron donor for chemolithotrophic metabolism Dinitrogen is fixed by a variety of strains. Nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, dinitrogen or certain amino acids are used as sole nitrogen source.
Products Acetate is oxidized to CO2 by all freshwater strains tested. Several C2, C3, and C4 organic acids and, sometimes, their amino acid equivalents are utilized as sole carbon and energy sources for hetero-trophic growth
Enzymes . Oxidase-positive, catalase-negative Gelatin and starch are not hydrolyzed
Unique features Beggiatoas are gradient organisms existing in horizontal layers in sedimentsat the interface between the underlying anoxic sulfide-liberating zone and the overlying oxic zone.
Habitat Freshwater, estuarine and marine strains are known. high temperature runoffs associated with thermal springs


Genome Beggiatoa alba
G+C Mol % 37-51 (Tm, Bd)


Reference Beggiatoa alba
First citation Trevisan, V. 1842. Prospetto della flora Euganea. Coi Tipi Del Seminario, Padova pp 1-68
The Prokaryotes  
Bergey's Systematatic p 2091 W. R. Strohl
Bergey's Determinative p 491