Some 180 species of Bacteroidetes bacteria are non-sporeforming,
Gram-negative, anaerobic rods usually found in soil and sediments. Some species
have flagella for motility. Bacteroidetes are known to have a remarkable ability
to digest and grow on a variety of complex substrates including cellulose,
chitin, and agar.
Of the three large groups that compose the phylum, the family Bacteroidaceae
typically is found in the intestinal tracts and mucous membranes of warm-blooded
animals, including humans.
Some species can cause or exacerbate abscesses and other infections in humans
if they gain access and tissues. In the gastrointestinal tract, however, most
species have a symbiotic relationship and make up about 30% of the intestinal
microbiota. The bacteria help break down food and produce valuable nutrients and
Bacteroidetes found in soil are typically decomposers which contribute to the
turnover of polymeric carbon.
- Alcamo's Fundamentals of Microbiology: Body Systems By Jeffrey C. Pommerville
- Polar Microbiology By Asim K. Bej, Ronald M. Atlas