Reference Work Entry

The Prokaryotes

pp 854-877

The Genus Herpetosiphon

  • Natuschka Lee
  • , Hans Reichenbach

The Herpetosiphon species are aerobic, chemoorganotrophic, filamentous bacteria that are Gram negative but do not have a typical Gram negative cell wall. The filaments are very long, unbranched, and multicellular, between 0.5 µm and 1.5 µm wide and usually 100 µm to more than 1200 µm long (Fig. 1). Short transparent sections (“sleeves”; Fig. 2) are seen at the ends of many filaments.

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Fig. 1.

Filaments of Herpetosiphon aurantiacus at low magnifications. a) Filaments with slime tracks in chamber culture. b) Filaments from a liquid culture, slide mount. c) Filaments stained with Loeffler’s methylene blue; the individual cells of the filament are clearly visible. d) and e) Twisted filaments from a liquid culture. Zeiss Standard Microscope and Axiomat (d and e), in phase contrast. Bar = 100 µm (for a and b). Bar = 25 µm (for c, d and e).

Fig. 2.

Filaments of the type strain of Herpetosiphon aurantiacus at high magnifications. a) Filaments from CY agar. Note the enormous variability of the filam ...

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