Bacillus pumilus colonies
Bacillus pumilus
Cultural characteristics
Biochemical characters
Phylum Firmicutes, Class Bacilli, Order Bacillales, Family Bacillaceae, Genus Bacillus, Bacillus pumilus Meyer and Gottheil (1901).
Gram-positive or Gram-variable, 2.0-3.0 x 0.6-0.7 μm, motile rods with peritrichous
flagella. Ellipsoidal or cylindrical, central, paracentral or subterminal spore, not
deforming  the vegetative cell. No capsule present.
Colonial morphology is variable; colonies may be wrinkled and irregular, and they are
unpigmented and most are opaque. The colonies of most strains on nutrient agar are
smooth and become slightly yellowish. Nonhemolytic on sheep blood agar. A
hemolitic Gram-positive bacillus strain that biochemically was identified as
both by 'API CHB' and 'ABIS online' was isolated from sheep milk (admin
note). Aerobic, do not grow anaerobically. Growth at pH 5.7-9.5, some strains will
grow at pH 4.5. Grow in 0-10% NaCl. Temperature range: 5-15 ºC  to  40-50 ºC.
Allantoin or urate are not required for growth.
Widely distributed in clinical (human faeces and ileum) and veterinary specimens, food ingredients, emperor moth caterpillars,
leather, paper. Spores are widely distributed in nature (soil, plants).
Variable growth in the presence of lysozyme.
Isolates of
Bacillus pumilus from Antarctic soils and penguin rookeries show some phenotypic distinction from other strains of the
species, including the production of a diffusible yellow pigment by some strains on initial culture.
Food intoxications to humans: may produce toxins – a complex of lipopeptides (pumiciladines). Rarely encountered. May be involved
in rectal fistula.Isolated from bovines with mastitis (rarely).
Caused widespread lysis and damage (including nuclear condensation and fragmentation , cell lysis and necrosis, vacuolation and
apoptosis) to HEp-2 cells.
Antifungal activity;  used in agriculture.
  1. Bîlbîie V., Pozsgi N., 1985, Bacteriologie Medicală, vol.ll, Ed. Medicală, Bucureşti.
  2. Gordon R.E., Haynes W.C., Pang C.H. (1973) – The genus Bacillus . Agriculture Handbook No. 427, U.S.D.A., Washington D.C.
  3. Buchanan R.E., Gibbons N.E., Cowan S.T., Holt J.G., Liston J., Murray R.G.E., Niven C.F., Ravin A.W., Stanier R.W. ( 1974) –  
    Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, Eight Edition, The Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore.
  4. Bottone, Edward J; Peluso, Richard W: Production by Bacillus pumilus (MSH) of an antifungal compound that is active against
    Mucoraceae and Aspergillus species: preliminary report. Journal of Medical Microbiology. 52(1):69-74, January 2003.
  5. Buiuc D., Negut M. , 1999. Tratat de Microbiologie Clinica, Editura Medicala, Bucuresti.
  6. N.A. Logan and P. De Vos, 2009. Genus I. Bacillus Cohn 1872. In: (Eds.) P.D. Vos, G. Garrity, D. Jones, N.R. Krieg, W. Ludwig, F.A.
    Rainey, K.-H. Schleifer, W.B. Whitman. Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Volume 3: The Firmicutes, Springer, 21-127.
  7. Hoyles L., Honda H., Logan N.A., Halket G., La Ragione R., McCartney A.L., 2012. Recognition of greater diversity of Bacillus
    species and related bacteria in human faeces. Research in Microbiology 163, 3-13.
Positive results for beta-galactosidase, Voges-Proskauer, citrate utilization, hydrolysis
of esculin, hydrolysis of gelatin, hydrolysis of casein, acid production from: N-acetil-D-
glucosamine, L-arabinose, amygdalin, arbutin, D-cellobiose, D-fructose, galactose,
glucose, glycerol, beta-gentibiose, D-mannose, D-raffinose, ribose, sucrose, salicin,
trehalose, & D-xylose.

Negative results for reduction of nitrate to nitrite, starch hydrolysis, indole, hippurate,
arginine dihydrolase, lysine decarboxylase, ornithine decarboxylase, tryptophan
deaminase, egg yolk reaction, phenylalanine deaminated, degradation of tyrosine,
acid production from: D-arabinose, adonitol, D- or L-arabitol, glycogen, methyl
beta-xyloside, starch, dulcitol, erythritol, D- or L-fucose, inulin, 2- or 5-ketogluconate,
gluconate, lyxose, D-melezitose, rhamnose, sorbose, xylitol & L-xylose.

Variable results for oxidase, acid production from: meso-inositol, lactose, maltose,
D-melibiose & sorbitol.
(c) Costin Stoica
Culture media
Biochemical tests
Previous page