Sarcina is a genus of Gram-positive, anaerobic bacteria that was first described in 1842. The genus is unique because the cells are arranged in three-dimensional cubes of eight cells which can form spores. It has been isolated from soil, grains, and clinical specimens. Sarcina are sensitive to oxygen and will grow only under well-maintained anaerobic conditions. These organisms require fermentable carbohydrates and will grow in a pH range between 1 and 9.8. Sarcina ventriculi is among a few limited known bacteria with the pdc gene encoding pyruvate decarboxylase. In anaerobic conditions, this enzyme is part of the fermentation process that occurs in yeast, to produce ethanol by fermentation.

Sarcina ventriculi, the type species, is widespread in the soil and is common in the feces of vegetarians, but very infrequent in persons whose diets contained animal products. It has been found in the gastric contents and feces of patients with gastrointestinal disorders. Sarcina and Clostridia are higher in autistic children compared with healthy children.6 If pathological conditions such as pyloric stenosis retard the flow of food to the small intestine, S. ventriculi can thrive in the stomach, but its pathogenic status is unclear. Sarcina-like bacteria have been found in a variety of species, where they have been supposed to cause abomasal bloat, haemorrhage and ulcers in lambs and goat kids and a possible link to gastric dilatation in dogs and horses has also been suggested 2.

The pathogenic significance of Sarcina has been questioned previously, as some observers have suggested the stomach as their natural habitat, where it co-exists with Helicobacter pylori, the causative agent of stomach ulcers. There are a few case reports which have documented its association with various gastric disorders, including adenocarcinoma.4,5



  1. Gram-Positive Anaerobic Cocci
  2. Examination of equine glandular stomach lesions for bacteria, including Helicobacter spp by fluorescence in situ hybridisation
  3. Moselio Schaechter. Desk Encyclopedia of Microbiology
  4. A rare association of Sarcina with gastric adenocarcinoma diagnosed on fine-needle aspiration (2015)
  5. Co-existence of Sarcina Organisms and Helicobacter pylori Gastritis/Duodenitis in Pediatric Siblings (2015)
  6. Impacts of Gut Bacteria on Human Health and Diseases (2015)



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