Reference Work Entry

The Prokaryotes

pp 428-454

The Genus Porphyromonas

  • Frank C. Gibson
  • , Caroline Attardo Genco


Members of the genus Porphyromonas are characterized by the production of porphyrin pigments. The genus Porphyromonas was recognized as a separate taxon on the basis of ribosomal RNA homology and 16S rRNA data (Olsen et al., 1999). The most extensively characterized species of the genus is Porphyromonas gingivalis (a Gram-negative anaerobe), which has been long considered an important pathogen associated with human periodontal disease. Periodontal diseases comprise a group of inflammatory diseases of the gingiva and supporting structures of the periodontium. They (the most common of the destructive oral inflammatory diseases) are characterized by the bacterially initiated conversion of a healthy gingival region to one that is inflamed (gingivitis) and by the destruction of the supporting structures of the teeth (periodontitis). While a large number of different bacterial species exist in the periodontal environment, it is now recognized that the large number of ...

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