Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology

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Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology is the main resource for determining the identity of prokaryotic organisms, emphasizing bacterial species, using every characterizing aspect.

The manual was published subsequent to the Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, though the latter is still published as a guide for identifying unknown bacteria.[1] First published in 1923 by David Hendricks Bergey, it is used to classify bacteria based on their structural and functional attributes by arranging them into specific familial orders. However, this process has become more empirical in recent years.[2]


The change in volume set to "Systematic Bacteriology" came in a new contract in 1980, whereupon the new style included "relationships between organisms" and had "expanded scope" overall. This new style was picked up for a four-volume set[3] that first began publishing in 1984. The information in the volumes was separated as:

Volume 1 included information on all types of Gram-negative bacteria that were considered to have "medical and industrial importance." Volume 2 included information on all types of Gram-positive bacteria. Volume 3 deals with all of the remaining, slightly different Gram-negative bacteria, along with the Archaea. Volume 4 has information on filamentous actinomycetes and other, similar bacteria.[4]

The current volumes differ drastically from previous volumes in that many higher taxa are not defined in terms of phenotype, but solely on 16S phylogeny, as is the case of the classes within Proteobacteria.[5]

The current grouping is:

Bergey's Manual Trust[edit]

Bergey's Manual Trust was established in 1936 to sustain the publication of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology and supplementary reference works. The Trust also recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to bacterial taxonomy by presentation of the Bergey Award and Bergey Medal, jointly supported by funds from the Trust and from Springer, the publishers of the Manual.

Bergey's Manual Trust and John Wiley & Sons, Inc. are pleased to announce a new partnership to produce an online encyclopedia entitled Bergey's Manual of Systematics of Archaea and Bacteria (BMSAB). The digital edition of the systematics manual will provide up-to-date descriptions of the taxonomy, systematics, ecology, physiology and other biological properties of all named prokaryotic taxa. The new edition replaces and expands upon the second edition of Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, completed in 2012.

BMSAB will be available via Wiley Online Library, which, with over 1,500 journals and over 14,000 online books, is the world's broadest and deepest multidisciplinary collection of online resources covering the sciences and humanities. Individual chapters of BMSAB will also be made available in e-book format.

Since its formation in 1936, Bergey's Manual Trust has worked to provide comprehensive and authoritative descriptions of bacteria and archaea through the publication of its Manuals on determinative and systematic bacteriology.

The result of a collaboration between the Trust and hundreds of microbiologists from all over the world, the Manuals provide a natural classification of prokaryotes that reflects their evolutionary history and extensive descriptive information on the taxonomy, systematics, physiology, ecology and habitats of individual prokaryotic groups.

An explosion in the isolation and description of new taxa of prokaryotes over the past five years has resulted in the description of more than one hundred new genera and six hundred new species per year. This rapid pace underlines the need for a constantly updated electronic edition which keeps the community at the forefront of research.

"An electronic work is critical to providing a comprehensive description of the wonderful diversity of prokaryotic life" says Barny Whitman, Director of the Editorial Office of Bergey's Manual and Professor of Microbiology at the University of Georgia, USA. "We are very fortunate that Wiley shares our vision of a dynamic Manual capable of providing comprehensive, detailed and up-to-date descriptions of bacteria and archaea for researchers, educators and students in microbiology." Vicky Johnson and Elizabeth Grainge from Wiley will be working closely with the Bergey editorial office. "Since David Hendricks Bergey published his first encyclopedia in 1923, Bergey's titles have earned a reputation as invaluable research tools for laboratories," said Vicky Johnson, Associate Editorial Director, Wiley. "Our new partnership will maintain the high quality that Bergey's is known for, while using digital platforms to ensure the third edition becomes the go-to resource for microbiologists globally." Additional Information can be found at

Critical reception[edit]

The Annals of Internal Medicine described the volumes as "clearly written, precise, and easy to read" and "particularly designed for those interested in taxonomy."[12]


  1. ^ Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology Book Review Int. J. of Syst. Bact.; July 1985, p. 408
  2. ^ History of the Manual
  3. ^ "The new format, which has an expanded scope and examines relationships between organisms (systematics), is called Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology. Work on the first volume in the four-volume sequence began in 1980 and was ...", "Microbiology" by Daniel V. Lim, Kendall Hunt, 2002
  4. ^ "Bergey's Manuals", Understanding bacteria by Sheela Srivastava, Springer, 2003, Pg. 40
  5. ^ a b Don J. Brenner, Noel R. Krieg, James T. Staley (July 26, 2005) [1984(Williams & Wilkins)]. George M. Garrity, ed. Introductory Essays. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology 2A (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-387-24143-2. British Library no. GBA561951. 
  6. ^ Boone, David R.; Castenholz, Richard W. (May 18, 2001) [1984(Williams & Wilkins)]. George M. Garrity, ed. The Archaea and the Deeply Branching and Phototrophic Bacteria. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. p. 721. ISBN 978-0-387-98771-2. British Library no. GBA561951. 
  7. ^ Don J. Brenner, Noel R. Krieg, James T. Staley (July 26, 2005) [1984(Williams & Wilkins)]. George M. Garrity, ed. The Gammaproteobacteria. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology 2B (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. p. 1108. ISBN 978-0-387-24144-9. British Library no. GBA561951. 
  8. ^ Don J. Brenner, Noel R. Krieg, James T. Staley (July 26, 2005) [1984(Williams & Wilkins)]. George M. Garrity, ed. The Proteobacteria. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology 2C (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. p. 1388. ISBN 978-0-387-24145-6. British Library no. GBA561951. 
  9. ^ Vos, P.; Garrity, G.; Jones, D.; Krieg, N.R.; Ludwig, W.; Rainey, F.A.; Schleifer, K.-H.; Whitman, W.B. (September 15, 2009) [1984(Williams & Wilkins)]. George M. Garrity, ed. The Firmicutes. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology 3 (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. p. 1450. ISBN 978-0-387-95041-9. British Library no. GBA561951. 
  10. ^ Krieg, N.R.; Ludwig, W.; Whitman, W.B.; Hedlund, B.P.; Paster, B.J.; Staley, J.T.; Ward, N.; Brown, D.; Parte, A. (November 24, 2010) [1984(Williams & Wilkins)]. George M. Garrity, ed. The Bacteroidetes, Spirochaetes, Tenericutes (Mollicutes), Acidobacteria, Fibrobacteres, Fusobacteria, Dictyoglomi, Gemmatimonadetes, Lentisphaerae, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae, and Planctomycetes. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology 4 (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. p. 908. ISBN 978-0-387-95042-6. British Library no. GBA561951. 
  11. ^ Whitman, W.B.; Goodfellow, M.; Kämpfer, P.; Busse, H.-J.; Trujillo, M.E.; Ludwig, W.; Suzuki, K.-i.; Parte, A. (January 29, 2012) [1984(Williams & Wilkins)]. George M. Garrity, ed. The Actinobacteria. Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology 4 (2nd ed.). New York: Springer. p. 1750. ISBN 978-0-387-95043-3. British Library no. GBA561951. 
  12. ^ "Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology", Book Reviews, Notes, and Listings, Annals of Internal Medicine

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