The Family Brucellaceae

  • Peter Kämpfer
  • Steffen Wohlgemuth
  • Holger Scholz
Reference work entry


The family Brucellaceae comprises the type genus Brucella and six further genera, namely, Crabtreella, Daeguia, Mycoplana, Ochrobactrum, Paenochrobactrum, and Pseudochrobactrum, phylogenetically members of the order Rhizobiales within the class Alphaproteobacteria. Organisms are Gram-negative and have a rod-shaped morphology with varying length, occasionally motile, do not produce spores, and have an aerobic respiratory type of metabolism. The majority of Brucella species have been isolated from animals and occasionally humans, whereas the species belonging to the other genera have been predominantly isolated from environmental sources such as sludge, soil, and water and only rarerly from human or animal sources. Brucella species of the B. melitensis type (B. melitensis, B. abortus, B. suis, B. ovis, B. neotomae, B. canis, and B. ceti, considered by some taxonomists as one species, because of their high genetic relatedness) are the causal agents of Brucellosis, a severe disease of animals and man by comparative genetic analyses, it has been demonstrated that the family Brucellaceae especially the genus Brucella is genetically highly related to plant symbionts/pathogens, such as Agrobacterium, Rhizobium, and Mesorhizobium, and also to animal pathogens such as Bartonella.

Several Ochrobactrum species are opportunistic living organisms, which cycle from soil-rhizoplane to immunocompromised humans/animals; however, the species of the Brucella melitensis group live as intracellular primary parasites that do not require predisposing conditions and are capable to cycle directly from animal to animal.


Predominant Fatty Acid Brucella Species Brucella Melitensis Brucella Strain Peritrichous Flagellum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The excellent and comprehensive treatise of Moreno and Moriyon from the 2nd edition of The Prokaryotes is still highly recommended for a more deep study on classical approaches in the biology of Brucella.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Kämpfer
    • 1
  • Steffen Wohlgemuth
    • 2
  • Holger Scholz
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Applied MicrobiologyJustus-Liebig-University GiessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Angewandte MikrobiologieJustus-Liebig-Universität GiessenGiessenGermany
  3. 3.Institut für Mikrobiologie der BundeswehrAbteilung Bakteriologie und ToxinologieMunichGermany

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