|Bacillus subtilis, Gram stained|
The Firmicutes (Latin: firmus, strong, and cutis, skin, referring to the cell wall) are a phylum of bacteria, most of which have Gram-positive cell wall structure.1 A few, however, such as Megasphaera, Pectinatus, Selenomonas and Zymophilus, have a porous pseudo-outer-membrane that causes them to stain Gram-negative. Scientists once classified the Firmicutes to include all Gram-positive bacteria, but have recently defined them to be of a core group of related forms called the low-G+C group, in contrast to the Actinobacteria. They have round cells, called cocci (singular coccus), or rod-like forms (bacillus).
Many Firmicutes produce endospores, which are resistant to desiccation and can survive extreme conditions. They are found in various environments, and the group includes some notable pathogens. Those in one family, the helicobacteria, produce energy through photosynthesis. Firmicutes play an important role in beer, wine, and cider spoilage.
The currently accepted taxonomy is based on the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN) 3 and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)4 and the phylogeny is based on 16S rRNA-based LTP release 111 by The All-Species Living Tree Project 5
♠ Strains found at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) but not listed in the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature LPSN
While there are currently more than 274 genera within the Firmicutes phylum, notable genera of Firmicutes include:
Bacilli, order Bacillales
Bacilli, order Lactobacillales
While there has up to this point in time not been a way to categorically define a given bacterium as belonging to Firmicutes, as the phylum is highly diverse in phenotypic characteristics due to its members' promiscuous plasmid exchange across species and genera, the presence of Firmicutes can now be detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques.9
- "Firmicutes" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
- Wolf M, Müller T, Dandekar T, Pollack JD (May 2004). "Phylogeny of Firmicutes with special reference to Mycoplasma (Mollicutes) as inferred from phosphoglycerate kinase amino acid sequence data". Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 54 (Pt 3): 871–5. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.02868-0. PMID 15143038.
- J.P. Euzéby. "Firmicutes". List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN) . Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Sayers et al. "Firmicutes". National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) taxonomy database . Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- All-Species Living Tree Project."16S rRNA-based LTP release 111 (full tree)". Silva Comprehensive Ribosomal RNA Database . Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- Ley RE, Peterson, DA, Gordon JI. Ecological and Evolutionary Forces Shaping Microbial Diversity in the Human Intestine. Cell. 2006 Feb 24; 124:837-848.
- Henig, Robin Marantz (2006-08-13). "Fat Factors". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- Ley RE, Bäckhed F, Turnbaugh P, Lozupone CA, Knight RD, Gordon JI (August 2005). "Obesity alters gut microbial ecology". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 102 (31): 11070–5. doi:10.1073/pnas.0504978102. PMC 1176910. PMID 16033867. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- Haakensen M, Dobson CM, Deneer H, Ziola B (July 2008). "Real-time PCR detection of bacteria belonging to the Firmicutes Phylum". Int. J. Food Microbiol. 125 (3): 236–41. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2008.04.002. PMID 18501458. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
- Phylum "Firmicutes" - J.P. Euzéby: List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature