Red-pigmented Serratia rubidaea on milk agar
(prodigiosin production)
Serratia marcescens, Gram stain
Red-pigmented Serratia marcescens colonies after
72h incubation
Genus Serratia
Taxonomy
Morphology
Cultural characteristics
Biochemical characters
Ecology
Pathogenicity
References
Phylum Proteobacteria, Class Gammaproteobacteria, Order Enterobacteriales, Family Enterobacteriaceae, Genus Serratia,
- Serratia entomophila Grimont et al. 1988;
- Serratia ficaria Grimont et al. 1981;
- Serratia fonticola Gavini et al. 1979;
-
Serratia glossinae Geiger et al. 2010;
- Serratia grimesii Grimont et al. 1983;
- Serratia liquefaciens Bascomb et al. 1971, old synonum: Aerobacter liquefaciens,
Grimes & Hennerty 1931;
- Serratia marcescens Bizio 1823 - type species of the genus;
-
Serratia nematodiphila Zhang et al. 2009;
- Serratia odorifera Grimont et al. 1978;
- Serratia plymuthica Breed et al 1948, (Bacterium plymuthicum Lehmann et al.1896);
- Serratia quinivorans (Grimont et al. 1983) Ashelford et al. 2002,
basonym:
S. proteamaculans  subsp. quinovora Grimont et al. 1983.
- Serratia proteamaculans Grimont et al 1978, old synonyms: Pseudomonas
proteamaculans
Paine & Stansfield 1919, Xantomonas proteamaculans Burkholder
1948,
Erwinia proteamaculans  Dye 1966;
- Serratia rubidaea Stapp 1940 (Serratia marinorubra, ZoBell and Upham 1944);
- Serratia ureilytica Bhadra et al. 2005.

Additional notes:
Serratia marcescens has been divided into 2 subspecies:
S. marcescens subsp. marcescens Bizio 1823
S. marcescens subsp. sakuensis Ajithkumar et al. 2003 (only 1 report, doubtful )
Serratia marinorubra ZoBell and Upham 1944 is a later synonym of S. rubidaea (Stapp 1940)
Ewing et al. 1973.
Gram negative, straight rods, 0.5–0.80.9–2.0 μm, non-sporulated. Some strains are
capsulated. Motile by peritrichous flagella.
Some species produce a red, water insoluble pigment (prodigiosin). Pigment
production is variable and not all strains produce it. Production is influenced by
cultural conditions (30 ºC) and medium composition.
Colonies are 1 to 3 mm in diameter, circular, shiny, opaque, cream-white and smooth
with an entire margin. Some strains may have a distinctive musty odour. Facultatively
anaerobic, growth temperature 20 - 35 ºC (range may vary from 10 to 40 ºC). For
S.
plymuthica
many tests that are positive at 28–35 ºC give negative results at 37 ºC.
Do not require growth factors. Media: Nutrient Agar or Nutrient Broth, Trypticase Soy
Agar ± 5% sheep blood, Mac Conkey Agar, Milk Agar.
Serratia species are widely distributed in nature. Isolated from water, soil, foods,
human & animal clinical specimens, mainly from wounds and the respiratory tract
(more frequently
S. marcescens) also from moluscs and insects.

S. fonticola & S. ureilytica have been isolated from water.

S. plymuthica has been isolated from various plants and S. rubidaea also from
plants, mostly coconuts.

S. ficaria has been isolated from male figs and from Blastophaga psenes (a fig
tree-specific pollinator that breeds in male figs).

S. glossinae has been isolated from the midgut of the tsetse fly Glossina palpalis
gambiensi.

S. nematodiphila
has been isolated from the intestine of the nematode
Heterorhabditidoides chongmingensis.
S. marcescens, S. liquefaciens, S. grimesii may cause osteomyelitis, peritonitis,
pneumonia, keratitis, conjunctivitis, urinary tract infections, sepsis, wound
infections,  nosocomial infections. Olds & neonates are more susceptible.

S. ficaria predominantly may cause biliary infections and sepsis in areas that
cultivate fig trees. Pathogenicity is not very clear.

S. entomophila and S. proteamaculans cause amber  disease (amber coloration) in
the grass grub
Costelytra zealandica (Scarabaeidae).

S. rubidaea infection has been associated with the consumption of contaminated
coconuts or vegetables.
  1. J. G.Holt et al., 1994. Begey’s manual of Determinative Bacteriology, 9th-edition, Williams & Wilkins.
  2. Grimont P.A.D., Jackson T.A., Ageron E. & Noonan M.J.: Serratia entomophila sp. nov., associated with amber disease in the New
    Zealand grass grub Costelytra zealandica. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol., 1988, 38, 1-6.
  3. Grimont P.A.D., Grimont F. & Starr M.P.: Serratia ficaria sp. nov., a bacterial species associated with Smyrna figs and the fig wasp
    Blastophaga psenes. Curr. Microbiol., 1979, 2, 277-282.
  4. Gavini F., Ferragut C., Izard D., Trinel P.A., Leclerc H., Lefebvre (B.) and MOSSEL (D.A.A.): Serratia fonticola, a new species from
    water. International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, 1979, 29, 92-101.
  5. Grimont P.A.D., Grimont F. & Irino K.: Biochemical characterization of Serratia liquefaciens sensu stricto, Serratia proteamaculans,
    and Serratia grimesii sp. nov. Curr. Microbiol., 1982, 7, 69-74.
  6. Bascomb S., Lapage S.P., Willcox W.R. & Curtis M.A.: Numerical classification of the tribe Klebsielleae. Journal of General
    Microbiology, 1971, 66, 279-295.
  7. Grimont P.A.D. et al.: Deoxyribonucleic acid relatedness between Serratia plymuthica and other Serratia species with a
    description of Serratia odorifera sp. nov. (holotype: ICPB 3995). Int. Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, 1978, 28, 453-463.
  8. Grimont P.A.D., Grimont F. & Starr M.P.: Serratia proteamaculans (Paine and Stansfield) comb. nov., a senior heterotypic synonym
    of Serratia liquefaciens (Grimes and Hennerty) Bascomb et al. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol., 1978, 28, 503-510.
  9. Ashelford K.E., Fry J.C., Bailey M.J. & Day M.J.: Characterization of Serratia isolates from soil, ecological implications and transfer
    of Serratia proteamaculans subsp. quinovora Grimont et al. 1983 to Serratia quinivorans corrig., sp. nov. Int. J. Syst. Evol.
    Microbiol., 2002, 52, 2281-2289.
  10. Bhadra B., Roy P. & Chakraborty R.: Serratia ureilytica sp. nov., a novel urea-utilizing species. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., 2005, 55,
    2155-2158.
  11. N M Upadhyaya, T R Glare, and H K Mahanty: Identification of a Serratia entomophila genetic locus encoding amber disease in
    New Zealand grass grub (Costelytra zealandica). J Bacteriol. 1992 February; 174(3): 1020–1028.
  12. Don J. Brenner and J.J. Farmer III, 2001. Family I. Enterobacteriaceae. In:  Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Second
    edition,Vol two, part B, George M. Garrity (Editor-in-Chief), pp 587-897.
  13. A. Geiger, M.-L. Fardeau, E. Falsen, B. Ollivier, and G. Cuny: Serratia glossinae sp. nov., isolated from the midgut of the tsetse fly
    Glossina palpalis gambiensis. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol June 2010 60:1261-1265;
  14. Chong-Xing Zhang, Shou-Yun Yang, Ming-Xu Xu, Jie Sun, Huan Liu, Jing-Rui Liu, Hui Liu, Fei Kan, Jing Sun, Ren Lai, and Ke-Yun
    Zhang: Serratia nematodiphila sp. nov., associated symbiotically with the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditidoides
    chongmingensis (Rhabditida: Rhabditidae). Int J Syst Evol Microbiol July 2009 59:1603-1608.
S. marcescens subsp. sakuensis differes from S. marcescens subsp. marcescens in
negative L-arabitol forming (positive for
S. marcescens subsp. marcescens).
For
S. quinivorans see S. proteamaculans. S. quinivorans can be differentiated by  
negative aesculin hydrolysis (API CH) and acid production from salicin.
(c) Costin Stoica
Antibiogram
Encyclopedia
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R E G N U M
PROKARYOTAE
Legend:  + positive 90-100%, - negative 90-100%, [+] positive 75-89%, [-] negative 75-89%, d positive 25-74% of strains, nd - not determined,
      ADH - arginine dihydrolase, LDC -lysine decarboxylase, ODC - ornithine decarboxylase,  *
S glossinae is not included in ABIS database
Differential characters between species:
 
Pigment
ADH
LDC
ODC
Urea
hydrolysis
Voges -
Proskauer
Lactose
fermentation
Cellobiose
fermentation
L-arabinose
fermentation
D-xylose
fermentation
S. entomophila
-
-
-
-
-
+
-
-
-
d
S. ficaria
-
-
-
-
-
[+]
[-]
+
+
+
S. fonticola
-
-
+
+
[-]
-
+
-
+
[+]
S. grimesii
-
+
+
+
-
d
-
-
+
+
S. liquefaciens
-
-
+
+
-
+
-
-
+
+
S. marcescens
d
-
+
+
[-]
+
-
-
-
-
S. nematodiphila
+
+
+
+
-
+
-
-
+
-
S. odorifera 1
-
-
+
+
-
d
d
+
+
+
S. odorifera 2
-
-
+
-
-
+
+
+
+
+
S. plymuthica
d
-
-
-
-
[+]
[+]
[+]
+
+
S. proteamaculans
-
-
+
+
-
[+]
-
-
+
+
S. rubidaea
+
-
d
-
-
+
+
+
+
+
S. ureilytica
-
+
+
+
+
+
-
nd
-
+
S. glossinae *
-
nd
+
+
+
+
nd
-
nd
nd
Positive results for catalase, ONPG, esculin hydrolysis, citrate utilization, acid production from glucose, mannitol, glycerol, maltose,
D-mannose, salicin & trehalose.

Negative results for oxidase, indole production, H
2S production, phenylalanine deaminase & acid production from mucate
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Serratia rubidaea