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Scanning electron micrograph of Actinomyces israelii.
Scientific classification
Domain: Bacteria
Phylum: Actinobacteria
Order: Actinomycetales
Family: Actinomycetaceae
Genus: Actinomyces
Harz 1877

A. bovis
A. bowdenii
A. canis
A. cardiffensis
A. catuli
A. coleocanis
A. dentalis
A. denticolens
A. europaeus
A. funkei
A. georgiae
A. gerencseriae
A. graevenitzii
A. hongkongensis
A. hordeovulneris
A. howellii
A. humiferus
A. hyovaginalis
A. israelii
A. marimammalium
A. meyeri
A. naeslundii
A. nasicola
A. neuii
A. odontolyticus
A. oricola
A. radicidentis
A. radingae
A. slackii
A. streptomycini
A. suimastitidis
A. suis
A. turicensis
A. urogenitalis
A. vaccimaxillae
A. viscosus

Actinomyces is a genus of the actinobacteria class of bacteria. They are all Gram-positive and can be either anaerobic or facultatively anaerobic . Actinomyces species do not form endospores, and, while individual bacteria are rod-shaped, morphologically Actinomyces colonies form fungus-like branched networks of hyphae.[1]

Actinomycosis GROCOTT'S
Actinomycosis GRAM'S

Actinomyces are known for causing disease in humans, and for the important role they play in soil ecology. They produce a number of enzymes that help degrade organic plant material, lignin and chitin. As such, their presence is important in the formation of compost.

Many Actinomyces species are opportunistic pathogens of humans and other mammals, particularly in the oral cavity.[2] In rare cases, these bacteria can cause actinomycosis, a disease characterized by the formation of abscesses in the mouth, lungs, or the gastrointestinal tract.[3]

Some species are responsible for the smell of topsoil, which is often particularly noticeable after rain.[4] The main chemical responsible from this smell is geosmin. [5]

Actinomyces, a thermophilic bacteria, is usually the causative agent of farmer's lung, and bagassosis.

Actinomycosis is most frequently caused by Actinomyces israelii.


  1. ^ Holt JG (editor) (1994). Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology (9th ed.). Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-683-00603-7.  
  2. ^ Madigan M; Martinko J (editors). (2005). Brock Biology of Microorganisms (11th ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-144329-1.  
  3. ^ Bowden GHW (1996). Actinomycosis in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. (via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-9631172-1-1.  
  4. ^ The Sweet Smell of Rain
  5. ^ "The Role of Actinomycetes in Coffee Plantation Ecology". Retrieved 2008-01-16.  

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Superregnum: Bacteria
Regnum: Bacteria
Phylum: Actinobacteria
Classis: Actinobacteria
Subclassis: Actinobacteridae
Ordo: Actinomycetales
Subordo: Actinomycineae
Familia: Actinomycetaceae
Genus: Actinomyces
Species: A. bernardiae - A. bovis - A. bowdenii - A. canis - A. cardiffensis - A. catuli - A. coleocanis - A. dentalis - A. denticolens - A. europaeus - A. funkei - A. georgiae - A. gerencseriae - A. graevenitzii - A. hongkongensis - A. hordeovulneris - A. howellii - A. humiferus - A. hyovaginalis - A. israelii - A. marimammalium - A. meyeri - A. naeslundii - A. nasicola - A. neuii - A. odontolyticus - A. oricola - A. pyogenes - A. radicidentis - A. radingae - A. slackii - A. streptomycini - A. suimastitidis - A. suis - A. turicensis - A. urogenitalis - A. vaccimaxillae - A. viscosus


Actinomyces C.O. Harz, 1877

Type Species: Actinomyces bovis C.O. Harz, 1877


  • Actinomyce Meyen, 1827
  • Discomyces Rivolta, 1878
  • Actinocladothrix Affanassieff & Schulz, 1889


  • C.O. HARZ: Actinomyces bovis ein neuer schimmel in den geweben des rindes. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Thiermedizin. 5: 125-140 (1877).
  • List of Prokaryotic Names [1]

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