Genus Yersinia
Taxonomy
Morphology
Cultural characteristics
Biochemical characters
Ecology
Pathogenicity
References
Phylum Proteobacteria, Class Gammaproteobacteria, Order Enterobacteriales, Family Enterobacteriaceae, Genus Yersinia,
- Yersinia aldovae Bercovier et al. 1984,
- Yersinia aleksiciae Sprague and Neubauer 2005,
- Yersinia bercovieri Wauters et al. 1988,
- Yersinia enterocolitica Frederiksen 1964, old synonym: Bacterium enterocoliticum Schleifstein and Coleman 1939 *
- Yersinia frederiksenii Ursing et al. 1981,
- Yersinia intermedia Brenner et al. 1981,
- Yersinia kristensenii Bercovier et al. 1981,
- Yersinia massiliensis  Merhej et al. 2008,
- Yersinia mollaretii Wauters et al. 1988,
- Yersinia pestis - type species of the genus, van Loghem 1944 old synonyms: Bacillus pestis Lehmann and Neumann 1896,
Pasteurella pestis (Lehmann and Neumann 1896) Bergey et al. 1923, Pestisella pestis (Lehmann and Neumann 1896) Dorofeev 1947.
- Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Smith and Thal 1965, old synonyms: Bacillus pseudotuberkulosis Pfeiffer 1889; Pasteurella -
pseudotuberculosis
Topley and Wilson 1929; Bacterium pseudotuberculosis Migula 1900,
-
Yersinia philomiragia Jensen et al. 1969, moved to Francisella philomiragia (Jensen et al. 1969) Hollis et al. 1990,
- Yersinia rohdei Aleksic et al. 1987,
- Yersinia ruckeri Ewing et al. 1978,
- Yersinia similis Sprague et al. 2008.

* Y. enterocolitica subsp. enterocolitica & Y. enterocolitica subsp. palearctica (Neubauer et al. 2000)
Gram negative, bipolar, 1.0-3.0 x 0.5-0.8 μm rods. Motile in vitro, but nonmotile in vivo.
Non-motile at 37 ºC, but motile with 2-15 peritrichous flagella when grown below 30
ºC, except for
Yersinia pestis, which is always nonmotile. No capsule & no spores are
produced.
Small, gray-white, opaque, irregular colonies, 0.1 to 1.0 mm in diameter after 24
hours incubation.
Y. pestis strains do not produce pigment but adsorb large amounts
of exogenous hemin that cause formation of  apparently pigmented colonies at 26 ºC
(not at 37 ºC).
Facultatively anaerobic, optimum growth temperature 28 ºC. Grow very slowly at 4 ºC
(1-3 weeks). Media: Nutrient Agar or Nutrient Broth, Trypticase Soy Agar ± 5% sheep
blood, Mac Conkey – lactose negative colonies.
Isolated mostly from water, some from fish, snails, oysters, frogs.
Also isolated from humans (feces, sputum, blood, urine, absceses, lymph nodes), animals (rodents, swine, cattle, birds), soil &
foods (milk, meat).
Yersinia pestis  is the infectious agent of bubonic plague – when lymph nodes are affected (“Black Death”). Pulmonary or septicemic
forms may occur. It is transmitted from rats to humans by the rat flea
Xenopsylla cheopis.
Y. enterocolitica causes gastroenteritis (diarrhea) – appendicitis-like symptoms & mesenteric lymphadenitis.  Bacteria may also
cause infections of  wounds, joints and the urinary tract. Foodborne pathogen for humans & animals.
Y. pseudotuberculosis in animals can cause tuberculosis-like symptoms (necrosis and granulomas in the spleen, liver & lymph
nodes). In humans causes gastroenteritis with appendicitis-like symptoms. Foodborne pathogen.
Yersinia intermedia may produce conjunctivitis or diarrhea.
The others members of Yersinia are non-pathogenic or opportunistic pathogens.
  1. J. G.Holt et al., 1994. Begey’s manual of Determinative Bacteriology, 9th-edition, Williams & Wilkins.
  2. Bercovier H., Steigerwalt A.G.) Guiyoule A., Huntley-Carter G. & Brenner D.J.: Yersinia aldovae (formerly Yersinia enterocolitica-like
    group X2): a new species of Enterobacteriaceae isolated from aquatic ecosystems. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol., 1984, 34, 166-172.
  3. Sprague L.D. & Neubauer H.: Yersinia aleksiciae sp. nov. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., 2005, 55, 831-835.
  4. Frederiksen W.: A study of some Yersinia pseudotuberculosis-like bacteria (Bacterium enterocoliticum and Pasteurella X).
    Proceedings of the XIV Scandinavian Congress of Pathology and Microbiology, Oslo 1964, Norwegian Universities Press, Oslo,
    1964, pp. 103-104.
  5. Neubauer H., Aleksic S., Hensel A., Finke E.J. & Meyer H.: Yersinia enterocolitica 16S rRNA gene types belong to the same
    genospecies but form three homology groups. Int. J. Med. Microbiol., 2000, 290, 61-64.
  6. Ursing J., Brenner D.J., Bercovier H., Fanning G.R., Steigerwalt A.G., Brault J. & Mollaret H.H.: Yersinia frederiksenii: a new species
    of Enterobacteriaceae composed of rhamnose-positive strains (formerly called atypical Yersinia enterocolitica or Yersinia
    enterocolitica-like). Curr. Microbiol., 1980, 4, 213-217.
  7. Brenner D.J., Bercovier H., Ursing J., Alonso J.M., Steigerwalt A.G., Fanning G.R., Carter G.P. & Mollaret H.H.: Yersinia intermedia:
    a new species of Enterobacteriaceae composed of rhamnose-positive, melibiose-positive, raffinose-positive strains (formerly
    called Yersinia enterocolitica or Yersinia enterocolitica-like). Curr. Microbiol., 1980, 4, 207-212.
  8. Wauters G., Janssens M., Steigerwalt A.G. & Brenner D.J.: Yersinia mollaretii sp. nov. and Yersinia bercovieri sp. nov., formerly
    called Yersinia enterocolitica biogroups 3A and 3B. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol., 1988, 38, 424-429.
  9. JUDICIAL OPINION 60: Rejection of the name Yersinia pseudotuberculosis subsp. pestis (van Loghem) Bercovier et al. 1981 and
    conservation of the name Yersinia pestis (Lehmann and Neumann) van Loghem 1944 for the plague bacillus. Int. J. Syst.
    Bacteriol., 1985, 35, 540
  10. Hollis D.G., Weaver R.E., Steigerwalt A.G., Wenger J.D., Moss C.W. & Brenner D.J.: Francisella philomiragia comb. nov. (formerly
    Yersinia philomiragia) and Francisella tularensis biogroup novicida (formerly Francisella novicida) associated with human
    disease. J. Clin. Microbiol., 1989, 27, 1601-1608.
  11. Aleksic S., Steigerwalt A.G., Bockemuhl J., Hunrley-Carter G.P. & Brenner D.J.: Yersinia rohdei sp. nov. isolated from human and
    dog feces and surface water. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol., 1987, 37, 327-332.
  12. Ewing W.H., Ross A.J., Brenner D.J. & Fanning G.R.: Yersinia ruckeri sp. nov., the redmouth (RM) bacterium. International Journal
    of Systematic Bacteriology, 1978, 28, 37-44.
  13. Vicky Merhej, Toïdi Adékambi, Isabelle Pagnier, Didier Raoult, and Michel Drancourt: Yersinia massiliensis sp. nov., isolated from
    fresh water. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol April 2008 58:779-784.
  14. Lisa D. Sprague, Holger C. Scholz, Sabine Amann, H.-J. Busse, and Heinrich Neubauer: Yersinia similis sp. nov., Int J Syst Evol
    Microbiol April 2008 58:952-958.
  15. 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.
Some tests results may be negative at 37 °C; optimum temperature is 28 °C.

Positive results for catalase, methyl red (most strains), nitrates reduction (most strains), acid production from glucose (usually
without gas), D-mannitol, D-mannose & trehalose.

Negative results for oxidase, arginine dihydrolase, lysine decarboxylase, DN-ase, H
2S production, Voges-Proskauer reaction,
phenylalanine deaminase, gelatin hydrolysis, growth on KCN medium, citrate utilization, malonate utilization, acid production from:
lactose (most of strains), meso-inositol, dulcitol, mucate, erythritol & adonitol.
(c) Costin Stoica
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R E G N U M
PROKARYOTAE
 
ONPG
Esculin
hydrolysis
Ornithine
decarboxylase
Urea
hydrolysis
L-Rhamnose
fermentation
Cellobiose
fermentation
Salicin
fermentation
Sucrose
fermentation
Y. aldovae
-
-
d
d
-
-
-
[-]
Y. bercovieri
[+]
[-]
[+]
d
-
+
[-]
+
Y. enterocolitica
+
[-]
+
[+]
-
[+]
[-]
+
Y. fredriksenii
+
[+]
+
[+]
+
+
+
+
Y. intermedia
+
+
+
[+]
+
+
+
+
Y. kristensenii
d
-
+
[+]
-
+
[-]
+
Y. mollaretii
-
-
[+]
[-]
-
+
[-]
[+]
Y. pestis
d
d
-
-
-
-
d
-
Y.
pseudotuberculosis
d
+
-
+
d
-
[-]
-
Y. rohdei
d
-
[-]
d
-
[-]
-
[-]
Y. ruckeri
d
-
+
-
-
-
-
+
Y. similis
-
+
-
+
+
-
-
-
Differential characters of the species:
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Legend:  + positive 90-100%, - negative 90-100%, [+] positive 75-89%, [-] negative 75-89%, d positive 25-74% of strains,