Talk:Bacteria/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Revision of Introduction

As I have stated above (section 1), I have been working slowly - but surely - on revising this article. Today I have added my input to a rewrite of the introduction. I have more text under construction for the paragraphs following based on the draft structure that I outlined above (comments welcome). I see that the Microorganism page is undergoing some collaborative rewrite effort so it will be interesting to see what they come up with given the overlap that already exists with that article and the Bacteria article.

There is a fair bit of discussion here on the Talk: Bacteria page and I have tried to incorporate the comments that I have read here. The intro is aimed at being more general and able to function as a stand alone description/definition of Bacteria. The intro also outlines the most important of the areas that I think should be the focus in the article.

After all of the discussion about nomenclature of Bacteria I have added the short paragraph on this subject. No doubt the article should contain a more comprehensive section covering these issues in the body text.

I am looking forward to your comments. Please state major objections here on the talk page before ripping up my draft. :-) --Azaroonus 21:02, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Revision of article

Hi All, I continue with a new installment of my contribution to the article. Comments welcome.--Azaroonus 19:38, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Eubacteria redirects here, however there is a big difference between eubacteria and bacteria as a whole. I think Eubacteria should be a seperate article.

Experiment documents bacterial evolution

Researchers watched mutations take place in near real time, with surprising results.

"This straightforward approach to the study of experimental evolution can be used as a tool for discovery and analysis, and could even be used to discover bacterial capabilities that would benefit humankind in a variety of ways," said Herring.[1]

GA review

As per the Good Article review on this article, it has been delisted by a 2 to 0 vote. Primarily references are the problem, the unreferenced template up top is the first indication, and User:Lincher warned editors here way back in June to add some references, yet that never seems to of happened much. Review archived here: Wikipedia:Good articles/Disputes/Archive 8 Homestarmy 16:05, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

I also suggest removing the sentences on Koch's postulates: they're not related to the subject strictly enough, and this article is too long already. Besides, as it is mentioned here, it suggests that the postulates are still absolute today, which the article itself explains is not the case.--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 15:13, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

I've shortened this section. TimVickers 15:37, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

peer review

The history of bacteriology section is not really specific to bacteria, rather than microbiology. There might be good reason for a separate "bacterial diseases" article--I am thinking of the textbooks with this all put in a second part.

Perhaps the metabolism section should be fuller, with a table. Most readers of this won't know any biochemistry. Since these distinctions are so critical to the overall understanding, it might be best to give each of them a subsection, and not rely on the taxobox. I think there are to many refs. At this general level it should rarely be necessary to refer to a primary article rather than a review, except for the very latest developments. I'm partic. bothered by 23, 26, 27*,33, 36, 46, 48, 57, 63, 69, 73, 80, 86, 88, 89*, 93* * indicates ones that i feel most strongly about. I'd personally be reluctant to give refs to journal articles in rarely held journals, like A.vL, for such a general article.

And--but this is a personal crusade--I would indicate specifically the parts taken from the 2 mentioned sources. DGG 03:19, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

The history section is as specific to bacteria as is possible, considering that bacteria were not separated from other related organisms until the late 1970s. If we gave each phylum a separate section the article would become a list and not cover the general principles. Look at the featured articles HIV, tuberculosis and influenza to get an idea of the level of referencing, as the Wikipedia:Manual of Style (medicine-related articles) says "Medical articles should be relatively dense with inline citations.". Interesting point about rarely-held journals, I tend not to think about print journals any more! I'll try to find some substitutes, is it only Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek you think might cause a problem?
Thanks also for reminding me about these historical notes in the reference section. The material taken from those two original sources has now been comprehensively re-written by multiple editors to the level that the material is no longer recognisable, so I don't know which parts this reference tag refers to. I think I'll just remove these references, as they are not really necessary for text that is not a direct quote. TimVickers 03:43, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

sister project box

Would it be possible to remove the link to wikitravel in the sister-project box at the end of the article. It's quite silly to have it there. I thought it was a joke actually... Witty lama 18:39, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

It's a standard template I'm afraid. TimVickers 18:51, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Expansion of article

As of 2/Dec2006 this article is 82kb in size. I think we simply can't fit anything more in here without removing material at the same time. TimVickers 18:25, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

The 82k limit is a suggestion and could be argued that an article of such central significance might exceed this guideline. It is important that we do not leave out important content because of old drafts that contain less important information. I also think that there are things that could be removed. The most important parts of the article are outlined in the introduction as I said on the FAC page. Over the description of what a bacterium is, the article should cover: Signifcance to health and Ecological significance. Please give me a chance to make the additions that I am proposing without deleting them. And then once that is on the table we have something to discuss.--Azaroonus 18:42, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
OK, go right ahead. This "old draft" is all yours to improve! TimVickers 19:09, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
As you can see my suggested changes do not increase the size of the article but use the text contained in the relationships section. As I have said before I think that these "Significance" sections are critical to the article. If you want deletion candidates let's consider: history section (see my comments on the FAC page), and the movement and parts of growth (eg. dicsussion of k/r strategists etc.)which are a bit too technical I think and could be reduced to a link to the other articles. Currently putting together some text for the environment section. There are two main points to add here: that most environmental bacteria cannot be cultured and that bacteria are essential to global nutrient cycles.
I think your changes neither add to the clarity nor informativeness of the article. The text is now poorly-integrated and lacks a clear, logical structure. For example:
  • The majority of the text in the Environment section deals with hydrogen transfer between symbiotic anerobes, but the environmental significance of this is not explained.
  • Commensal bacteria are now in Human health, but have no bearing on human health, as they are commensal.
  • The beginning of the human health section is now a set of unrelated facts with no overall message.
In my opinion, the article was better before these changes. However, this is just my opinion. I will therefore not revert this change, but will add a note on the FAC page with links to the two versions and ask which people prefer. TimVickers 21:01, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I would prefer to collaborate on this with you, TimVickers, and anyone else with an opinion for that matter but it seems to be us that are putting most effort in. I can see the point with your comments regarding the details of the section there and these issues can be fixed (especially the Environment section, i made note of the things still to be added in the above paragraph). I will make a couple of points on the FAC page about my changes but I would prefer that this was not a "showdown". --Azaroonus 21:33, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
This isn't a showdown and I would not usually make such a fuss over re-arranging an article. However, as I am sure you would agree, these are major changes and if people have voted in FAC for one version I think it would be wrong to change this version drastically without warning them about this change and asking for consensus. TimVickers 21:38, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I think you are right that the average reader may want a more human-centic approach to this subject. I've therefore reverted to the original but moved the section you created to a new page called Bacteria and human health. I put a link to this at the top of the Pathogens section. I hope this compromise works OK, as it will give the general reader a place to go for the more disease-based approach which was lacking in the original. Perhaps we can follow a similar approach with environmental significance? We could create a new page on bacteria in the environment or Significance of bacteria to the environment and a link to further information as in the other 2 sections? TimVickers 00:21, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Taxobox: Monera?!

Why does the source text of the taxobox include the kingdom Monera? It is not shown in the article and is an obsolete taxon. --Eleassar my talk 09:20, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Removed. TimVickers 14:51, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Today's featured article request

This is currently a candidate for today's featured article. Show support here [2] Buc 06:50, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

gould article

Wow mindblowing. --Filll 19:48, 17 January 2007 (UTC)


TB is not the most common bacterial disease. I doubt it is even the most common deadly disease, since the biggest killer is probably food poisoning among under fives. Sad mouse 07:19, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Good point, I was only considering fatal diseases, I suppose if you count something like spots caused by minor staph skin infections as diseases, they will be almost universal. For fatal diseases, WHO mortailty data TB is the most common bacterial infectious disease. Although in total, diarrhoeal diseases kill slightly more people, they are a large set of conditions most commonly caused by viruses. ref I'll add this WHO data as a reference. TimVickers 18:37, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Good job getting the WHO data. Adding fatal certainly makes it better, but I'm still not entirely convinced that TB is the leading bacterial cause of fatality. TB is easily the leading bacterial killer in adults, but relatively few children die from TB, with more from diarrhoeal (which is split between multiple species and also viruses, I agree) and respiratory diseases (mostly staph). Looking at the spreadsheet, respiratory infections aside from TB kill twice as many people as TB (with an inverse distribution curve, with the young and old being killed). Off the top of my head, staph probably constitutes around half of respiratory infectious deaths, more in the elderly and the young in third world countries. From the data in the spreadsheet we can't tell, because they don't break it down into pathogen, but I would be hesitant to make the claim that TB is the biggest killer without such data (a claim that is not made in the TB article). Sad mouse 19:23, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

The classification link defines respiratory infections as influenza, bronchitis and pneumonia (J00–J06, J10–J18, J20–J22, H65–H66), with pneumonia being further sub-classified into viral and bacterial forms. Influenza alone kills about 500,000 people every year Ref. We can't compare the figures for one disease against figures that deal with a range of diseases caused by multiple different etiological agents. TimVickers 20:36, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Since TB can also be classified as a respiratory infection, I re-worded to state that respiratory infections are most common, with TB as a leading example. Hope this solves the problem. TimVickers 20:50, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Great solution, cheers. Sad mouse 21:33, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Ten times more bacterial cells than human cells in the human body?

Really? Wouldn't that mean that 9/10 of what constitutes a human is bacteria? And if you wanted to analyze a human cell, you'd have 9 chances out of 10 to pick up a bacterium instead? Devil Master 09:20, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

There are more than cells composing the body. --Wooty Woot? contribs 11:09, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
The stat is true by cell number, not true by mass/weight, because bacterial cells are so very much smaller than human cells. They are also concentrated - if you take skin or mucosal samples you get lots of bacteria, if you took internal tissues you would be no bacteria. Sad mouse 16:12, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

You may not have access to the reference on line, here is the relevant quote:

Comprised of 500 to 1000 bacterial species with two to four million genes, the microbiome contains about 100-fold more genes than the human genome and the estimated 1013 bacterial cells in the gut exceeds by 10-fold the total ensemble of human cells.

Hope this makes things more clear to you. TimVickers 17:22, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Just to clarify, I presume that's 1013, not "one thousand and thirteen". Fvasconcellos 20:28, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Today's Featured Article

Bacteria is today's (January 20th) Featured Article! I am so proud of everyone who helped to make this article great! A special thank-you to Tim, for his amazing leadership and commitment! Kudos! Adenosinetalk 09:01, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

 :) TimVickers 17:26, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

viable but nonculturable

I'm a little surprised to find no reference here (or anywhere on wikipedia, unless my search skills fail me) to VNC, the concept of viable but nonculturable bacteria.... [3] --Grahamtalk/mail/e 18:45, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Sentence and ref added to Identification section. TimVickers 18:51, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Bacteria properties

Hi there,

I'm an engineering trying to find some facts about bacteria. Does anyone know where can I find information about physical properties of bacteria like size, volume, density, radius, etc? I've been trying to look for information in different journals really hard but haven't been lucky yet ...

Thanks for the help —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Josegc (talkcontribs) 00:19, 11 February 2007 (UTC).

Look at cocci, they are spherical, making these calculations much more simple. TimVickers 03:01, 11 February 2007 (UTC)


i really like thsi site it works really swell ofor skool projects!!!

I'm glad you find it useful. TimVickers 22:09, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Cavalier-Smith does it again

If you go to this site,, you will find a paper Mr C-S published in July of last year. I didn't understand most of it, but what I did understand really changed my views on a 3-domain system and the monophyletic-ness of Bacteria. Take a look. Werothegreat 21:55, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Wow thanks for that, crazy stuff. How about this from the abstract "Chlorobacteria are probably the oldest and Archaebacteria the youngest bacteria, with Posibacteria of intermediate age, requiring radical reassessment of dominant views of bacterial evolution.Onco_p53 23:52, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

How many species?

Unless I've missed it, the article doesn't say how many species of bacteria are known, or believed, to exist. Andy Mabbett 12:08, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

That's an almost unanswerable question. See article 1 and article 2. I'll add some of this to the article since it is an important area. TimVickers 23:35, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Added to "Classification and identification" section. TimVickers 23:47, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Are all Bacteria unicellular?

I thought that some Bacteria, such as the Streptomycetes, were considered multicellular. If this view is controversial, shouldn't the article at least take note of it? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:05, 4 March 2007 (UTC).

These structures are discussed in the morphology section for Nocardia and also Myxobacteria, which are a better example of multicellularity since cells here show differentiation. TimVickers 17:44, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Germs v.s. Bacteria

Aren't germs synonymous to bacteria? Why doesn't searching for germs redirect me to this article? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:28, 19 March 2007 (UTC).

Actually, "germs" are usually defined as "pathogenic microorganisms" -- very small organisms that can cause disease. Since "microorganism" includes fungi and protozoans, "germs" can't just redirect to bacteria. -- MarcoTolo 22:46, 19 March 2007 (UTC)


congratulations!!!!(2 u all who made this wikipedia page) this page is very good it helped me a lot

Seriously. This is the best article everrr. I am so impressed, i cant express. I wish there was something more than featured. LOVELY!!! Luxurious.gaurav 11:00, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

It was a lot of work by a lot of people. Tim Vickers 15:19, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
I might be acting crazy, but isn't there anything more than being FA and coming on the main page? Luxurious.gaurav 15:53, 14 September 2007 (UTC)


With all of the products humans use against bacteria, is it possible that certain bacteria species could be building up an immunity to anti-bacteria products (such as Lysol wipes and sprays)? If this does happen is it something people (scientists specializing in anti-bacteria) could find out right away or will we just continue to spray and wipe for no reason?-- 16:18, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

It has happened to some extent, with some bacteria developing resistance to triclosan, but disinfectants such as bleach are pretty non-specific so hard to produce resistance to. In any case, most antibacterial use in the home is not very useful anyway. TimVickers 16:26, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Membrane-bound organelles

As a relative newcomer, I don't want to just go ahead and change things without discussion, but I would argue strongly that the qualification that bacteria lack membrane-bound organelles is no longer justifiable. Two examples, one clear and the second ambiguous, come to mind immediately, though there are others.

-The clear example: some planctomycetes contain anammoxosomes, which are membrane-bound compartments housing a special set of metabolic reactions (not to mention the DNA/ribosome-containing compartment within which anammoxosomes lie). In fact, as this is alluded to within the article, the statement that bacteria lack such structures causes an internal contradiction.

-The more ambiguous example: the magnetosomes of certain proteobacteria could be regarded as such, as they are a membrane-enclosed space with special contents (magnetic crystals) and special membrane protein content. The only ambiguity is that each magnetosome has a junction that connects its contents with the periplasm, which in my view doesn't disqualify it from being an organelle (in the sense that a gap junction doesn't cause two animal cells to be defined as one, nor do plasmodesmata cause a plant to be regarded as a single cell).

In any event, I would like to remove that qualification and perhaps add something to the article about bacterial organelles, within the Intracellular Structures section. I await comment.... MicroProf 04:42, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Sounds a great idea. A paragraph on that as an interesting exception and possible evolutionary intermediate would be a great addition. If you are unsure about formatting and referencing, just put it here on the talk page and I'll format the text and refs and put it into the article. Tim Vickers 15:44, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks - I've made the easy change and will add material about bacterial organelles in, hopefully, relatively short order. MicroProf 17:34, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

No scrollbars on ref list, pls

Wikipedia:Citing sources#Citation templates declares that scrollbars are not appropriate for the ref section. See its talk page (search for "Scrolling Reference Lists") for discussion.--SallyForth123 23:52, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

But it was so cool :( Tim Vickers 23:59, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Small grammar issue

"Ibn Khatima and Ibn al-Khatib wrote of infectious diseases being caused contagious entities that enter the human body" should read ".. caused by .." .. I'm new here and this article has a lock on it so I didn't want to attempt the edit myself. Cheers, Kevin 07:01, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Fixed, thanks for the heads up! delldot talk 08:59, 20 October 2007 (UTC)


What are the most common bacteria? If you know, please help! I need this for a science fair project, and for a paper DUE NOV. 5!!!!! Please, please, PLEASE help!!!!!

☻wilted☻rose☻dying☻rose☻ 16:04, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Probably the archaea found in the ocean link 1 and link 2. Tim Vickers 16:28, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Adding this to my project now. Thanks!

☻wilted☻rose☻dying☻rose☻ 20:09, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

If you want to e-mail me through my user page I can send you the Pdf of that Nature paper. Tim Vickers 20:14, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

The project was going to be too much work, I had to switch. :(

☻wilted☻rose☻dying☻rose☻ 17:18, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


Could someone please help on the prostatitis page? Could someone please summarize the medical literature from MEDLINE and elsewhere on "chronic prostatitis and bacteria" - thank you. Wikipedia says, "Wikipedia works by building consensus..... The primary method of determining consensus is discussion...." ReasonableLogicalMan 21:10, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

antioxidants & bacteria

I came here because I heard someone claim antioxidants kill bacteria. I can't find (or decipher?) the answer, so I'm guessing they don't kill bacteria. Would someone add this is it's actually true? --geekyßroad. meow? 00:41, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Untrue. Quite the opposite in fact, see oxidative burst. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:54, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Bacteria as dominant lifeform on Earth by mass

I would very much like to see discussion of the hypothesis that the total bacterial biomass on Earth may exceed that of all the rest of life combined.

Stephen Jay Gould, 1996

"Not only does the Earth contain more bacterial organisms than all others combined (scarcely surprising, given their minimal size and mass); not only do bacteria live in more places and work in a greater variety of metabolic ways; not only did bacteria alone constitute the first half of life's history, with no slackening in diversity thereafter; but also, and most surprisingly,

total bacterial biomass (even at such minimal weight per cell) may exceed all the rest of life combined...." [4] (I have added emphasis)

Stephen Jay Gould, "Planet of the Bacteria," Washington Post Horizon, 1996, 119 (344): H1.
This essay was adapted from Full House, New York: Harmony Books, 1996, pp. 175-192.

Also "Bacterial Biovolume and Biomass Estimations" by Gunnar Bratbak Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 June; 49(6): 1488–1493. [5]

"Both bacterial biomass and bacterial production in aquatic ecosystems may thus have been seriously underestimated."
Thanks. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 13:46, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Good point. There are some numbers in Whitman W, Coleman D, Wiebe W (1998). "Prokaryotes: the unseen majority". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 95 (12): 6578–83. PMID 9618454.  and this says prokaryotes in total are about 50%, so I added "much of" rather than choosing a precise figure. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:49, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

recent changes

I have to decided to remove this early hypothesizing that such things as microrganisms existed. First of all neither of these early claims resemble in any way that microorganisms existed. Worlds like foul earthly bodies and contagious entities does not in any way mean someone was talking about microbes. I mean were these foul contagious entities made of what? solids, liquids, a combination. Basically by saying these early people were speculating on the existence of microbes is fallacious since one is just amplying a modern interpretation to ancient words. Essentialy one is just assuming, ohh contagious entities, well they must be talking about microbes, but thats just retrospect since we now know such things exist. This early section is best kept in the germ theory page. Lastl, but not least, associating microbes with disease is foolish since its not true, not all microbes cause disease. Lastly this article is about a specific microbe, bacteria so it makes even less sense to put these early speculative ideas, since its not clear if even these ideas were about microoganisms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tomasz Prochownik (talkcontribs) 08:03, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

While slight rephrasing may be in order, the information you deleted is useful for context and should remain. Please make proposals on talk pages first rather than blanking paragraphs, remember to fill in an edit summary, and remember to sign your posts. .. dave souza, talk 08:25, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

lets put it this way, bacteria has a specific charactersitics, so it makes no sense to be writting about wild early speculation on microorganisms, if thats even what was being discussed. a prefect example to illustrate what am saying is this. Would it make sense to, on the history of the electron article, to write about early indian and greek philosophy about atoms. No it wouldnt becuase the electron is something specific, just as bacteria, and this article is specifically about bacteria sooo. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tomasz Prochownik (talkcontribs) 08:56, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

There's nothing wrong with establishing the context. You're removing well sourced information about the background and early ideas, and that can be construed as vandalism. Please stop, and sign your posts. .... dave souza, talk 09:43, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

new history section

i think this new revised section on the history is okay with everyone, give me a shout on any comments or suggestions.


What a fantastic article. Many thanks to all those who contributed, excellent work. FQ1513 (talk) 22:03, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Excellent article, but...

First of all, this might be the best wikipedia article i've ever read...

The only little thingie I encountered is that the text says "Bacteria were first observed by Anton van Leeuwenhoek", whilst the picture says Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. That's all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, corrected. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:18, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

how do bacteria make sick. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:27, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

See virulence. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:02, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


The following links need disambig:
respiratory infection
stationary phase
Randomblue (talk) 21:30, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Done, except for respiratory infection, where either of the two links on the disambig page are relevant. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:42, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Good job, that was quite fast!Randomblue (talk) 21:48, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

This is one of my favorite articles! :) Tim Vickers (talk) 21:50, 7 March 2008 (UTC)


Hi. The first image has x15k magnification, as indicated on the image itself. But the image note says 25000x. Why the difference? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:37, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

I think that is a letter X, rather than a magnification. It is not a fifteen-times magnification image. Tim Vickers (talk) 18:58, 15 March 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I disagree. The x15k indicates clearly that the magnification on the scanning electron microscope was 15,000. The misleading and, in fact, inherently incorrect part is the legend, which states that the magnification is 25,000. Indicating magnification that way is appropriate only in a book. It should be obvious that the size of the reproduction varies on different computer screens. Only the scale bar (and, for technical purposes, the magnification factor on the microscope) is meaningful. I would strongly advocate removing the misleading component of the legend. MicroProf (talk) 01:08, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
The image size is fixed, since the page specifies a size for this image. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:31, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
That's not entirely true, for two reasons. First, the image is clickable, which leads to the fact that it's available in 3 sizes: the small size as it appears in the article, the medium size when you click on it for a preview and the original size when you click on the preview to open the full-resolution picture. We probably need to assume that the magnification factor refers to the latter - full res - image. However, as MicroProf points out, stating magnification factors doesn't make sense in the first place. If I change the resolution of my monitor from 1600x1200 to 800x600, the real dimensions (by measuring with a ruler placed on my monitor) of the picture increase with a factor two. So, what resolution and monitor size (17"? 19"? 22" wide-screen?) do I need to use for the magnification factor to be applicable? As MicroProf states, only a scale bar would work, as it scales with the image, no matter what size it is and no matter what monitor you view it on. Stating a magnification factor is useless. And it seems the image does contain a scalebar (2 micrometer scale bar in 10 portions of 0.2 micrometer). Therefore, it would make sense to replace that statement about the magnification factor with a statement like "the width of the image is 8 micrometer". I'd change it myself, but the article is semi-protected, so it needs to be changed by a logged-in user. (talk) 14:17, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, that's a good idea. I've done that. Thank you. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:29, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
Just one small thing: the image is 8 micron in width, not diameter. The diameter (actually: "diagonal", as diameter only applies to circular shapes) of the image is about 10 - 10.5 micron. Don't know which one is nicer to use as a indicator for size. (talk) 16:58, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm a spelling freak.

Okay, So I seem to notice a few problems in the article but since I'M just registered as of today I can't edit to the article so I'D like to point out that the word yogurt is spelled wrong. If this is a different spelling and I don't know of it please inform me. The word in the article is spelled yoghurt, is this correct? Toiletvodka (talk) 02:00, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

That's one of several alternative spellings. See yoghurt. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:03, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


As an FYI, the article on the Archaea is up for FA. See Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Archaea. Tim Vickers (talk) 21:22, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


I still don't get why bacterium redirects to bacteria and not the other way around. According to the naming conventions, article subjects are always in singular, except for a few obvious exceptions, such as The Beatles, etc. I would prefer to switch the redirect. What do you people think? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:24, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

This article is about Bacteria, the kingdom, not bacteria, the plural noun. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:05, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
If it's about bacteria, the kingdom, why isn't this reflected in the first sentence of the article, which is generally used to give a single-sentence definition of the article subject? The opening sentence of the article clearly states that it is about "bacteria - the microorganisms", not "bacteria - the taxonomic kingdom". Since the article subject is "bacteria - the organisms", there is no reason to diverge from the singular/plural naming conventions of Wikipedia. The article should therefore be "Bacterium - a unicellular microorganism, belonging to the taxonomic kingdom of Bacteria". If you'd really want the article subject to remain "bacteria", the first sentence should be something similar to what has been done with the Archaea article. The article-opening would have to be something like "Bacteria are a group of unicellular microorganisms". (talk) 13:28, 13 July 2008 (UTC)


Bacterium currently redirects to Bacteria and is incorrectly tagged as {{R from plural}} - should be {{R to plural}}. GregorB (talk) 11:56, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Done. Thank you. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:09, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

What's more harmful, bacteria? or worms? —Preceding unsigned comment added by JricHwang (talkcontribs) 20:15, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Bacteria is a taxonomic term

Since this article refers to the kingdom Bacteria, the word "bacteria" should be capitalised and italicised throughout, as per convention in microbiology journals. The same goes for Archaea and Eukarya. Milady (talk) 14:55, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Where the word is used as a taxanomic term it should be capitalised, however this is complicated in that this word is also used as a simple plural in the article, eg one bacterium, two bacteria. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:27, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

i have to look up makes is expamles but this website doesnt help —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:53, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

"Origin and early evolution" How is this neutral?!

Origin and early evolution

   Further information: Timeline of evolution

The ancestors of modern bacteria were single-celled microorganisms that were the first forms of life to develop on earth, about 4 billion years ago. For about 3 billion years, all organisms were microscopic, and bacteria and archaea were the dominant forms of life.[22][23] Although bacterial fossils exist, such as stromatolites, their lack of distinctive morphology prevents them from being used to examine the past history of bacterial evolution, or to date the time of origin of a particular bacterial species. However, gene sequences can be used to reconstruct the bacterial phylogeny, and these studies indicate that bacteria diverged first from the archaeal/eukaryotic lineage.[24] The most recent common ancestor of bacteria and archaea was probably a hyperthermophile that lived about 2.5 billion–3.2 billion years ago.[25][26]

Bacteria were also involved in the second great evolutionary divergence, that of the archaea and eukaryotes. Here, eukaryotes resulted from ancient bacteria entering into endosymbiotic associations with the ancestors of eukaryotic cells, which were themselves possibly related to the Archaea.[27][28] This involved the engulfment by proto-eukaryotic cells of alpha-proteobacterial symbionts to form either mitochondria or hydrogenosomes, which are still being found in all known Eukarya (sometimes in highly reduced form, e.g. in ancient "amitochondrial" protozoa). Later on, an independent second engulfment by some mitochondria-containing eukaryotes of cyanobacterial-like organisms led to the formation of chloroplasts in algae and plants. There are even some algal groups known that clearly originated from subsequent events of endosymbiosis by heterotrophic eukaryotic hosts engulfing a eukaryotic algae that developed into "second-generation" plastids.[29][30]

The way I see it, this looks like it was written by a pro-evolutionist....How is that neutral? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:14, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
See Talk:Evolution/FAQ Tim Vickers (talk) 01:17, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Uh...again! How is that neutral?! (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 01:21, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Some people don't believe bacteria even exist. Should we scrap the whole article for the sake of "neutrality"? Some people don't believe people actually exist. Should we put a disclaimer on your forehead that you may not exist? Evolution is overwhelmingly favored within the scientific community and this is a scientific article - it's not split between pro- and anti-evolutionists as you see it. Additionally, bacteria themselves are an excellent example of evolution as evidenced through bacterial resistance, among other things. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:47, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

So, if evolution is true and bacteria are "an excellent example of evolution." Explain how did the Flagellum evolve? :D Project Gnome (talk) 02:39, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

See PMID 18753783, PMID 19081724 and PMID 16953248 for some recent reviews. Tim Vickers (talk) 03:32, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Okay...but words like complex and assembly are usually used when it comes to something that has a design to it...It has been less than a hundred years since we've managed to make machines that automatically assemble simple devices...yet all life have been making extremely complex organic machines, practically since the beginning of time...Complex mechanisms don't just randomly form together...they are constructed very precisely according to very technical blueprints...

Give an unskilled man all the components to make a analog watch, and see how long it takes him to make it perfectly..that is if he lives long enough to do so...

Project Gnome (talk) 04:29, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
PubMed is great for finding papers. That should help you find some reliable sources to base some suggestions on. Tim Vickers (talk) 04:36, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Ty for the question though, is it biased towards any specific belief? Because biased science cannot be accurate science. In order to preform reliable science he/she must have an open mind and look into all possibilities...
That is all...I do not want to be band because I "keep causing trouble." :D

Note: I'm not trying to cause any trouble...I just want them to think for themselves... Project Gnome (talk) 21:38, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

But you are still misusing talk pages. As you've been told several times, this is not a forum. If you want to teach or preach, this is not the right place for you. Dougweller (talk) 22:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Question on text about pathogenic bacteria on or in the human body

The text says "There are approximately ten times as many bacterial cells as human cells in the human body, with large numbers of bacteria on the skin and in the digestive tract.[6] Although the vast majority of these bacteria are rendered harmless by the protective effects of the immune system, and a few are beneficial, some are pathogenic bacteria and cause infectious diseases, including cholera, syphilis, anthrax, leprosy and bubonic plague." To me, this seems to imply that the bacteria that cause cholera, syphilis, anthrax, leprosy and bubonic plague are to be routinely found living on or in the human body. Surely that is incorrect? Or surely it needs some more clarification? Invertzoo (talk) 22:49, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes, that seems to be the result of two sentences running together. I've split them apart and hopefully removed that implication. Tim Vickers (talk) 23:19, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Amazing article! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Srivastav.ankur (talkcontribs) 00:34, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Escherichia coli

I am not happy with E. coli's being included as a pathogen in the new diagram. Second only to anaerobes, it is the commonest commensal in the gut. It should list the pathogenic serovar. Graham Colm Talk 21:22, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

PS. Where are the, all too common, throat infections, Group A streptococci for example, and in our poor ears, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is even a more common infection. And, as I said on the virus talk page, I find the absence of genitalia too prudish for a modern encylopedia. Graham Colm Talk 21:43, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

PPS. Staphylococcus aureus is not a common cause of infections of the eye. This bacterium most often causes skin boils and abscesses, but eye infections are most often caused by Haemophilus influenza, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Proteus mirabilis. This diagram does not belong in a featured article. Sorry. Graham Colm Talk 22:24, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Just a Question

Is the "Domain" the same as "Kingdom"? There are actually two kingdoms of bacteria - Eubacteria and Archaebacteria. I just wasn't sure. Thanks. Geeky Math (talk) 01:03, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

No, "archaebacteria" are now known to be no more related to bacteria than eukaryotes, so organisms are now classified into three separate and equal "domains, called archaea (previously archaebacteria), bacteria and eukarya. Tim Vickers (talk) 01:28, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
No, there's a difference. Bacteria is a Domain, the highest rank afforded by our taxonomic system. Archaea is one of the other two Domains. "Eubacteria" and "Archaebacteria" are old terms and are no longer used, hence there is only one Domain using the word "bacteria." Under these three Domains are six Kingdoms, which fit into one of the three Domains. There are, however, Kingdoms named Bacteria and Archaea, while the other four are traditionally characterized as Eukaryota. Hope that helps! ~ Amory (talk) 01:51, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Domain name is totally wrong!!!

Please excuse my English because I am not native English speaker. I just had to create login name to point out this mistake: "Bacteria" is a singular form i.e. one would say "I see one bacteria". Plural form of word "Bacteria" is "Bacteriae", therefore domain name is Bacteriae i.e. one would say "I see five bacteriae". AE reads like "e" in word "elephant" with this exception that "e" in word "bacteriae" is long "e". There is no such word as a "bacterium" that reffers to the organisms taxonomized in domain of Bacteriae. Please do not create articles which convert rigor scientia into scientific pornography. You are insulting students like me (who want to learn) and undermining your own reputation (even in eyes of students who ended their biology education in junior- or high-school). You are passing false information to people. They read these articles and learn information which is wrong and accept it as a true. I lookup things in wikipedia to learn, not to be mislead with false and not elegant, unverified information. If you, athors of articles can not write articles proplerly, I kindly ask you to not do it for the benefit of society and science. If you do not agree with me, please look up Bacteria/Bacteriae in some really decent latin dictionary. :Sincerely, ::Michael Sokolowski

Material Scientist wrote:
I have moved your comment here as it might contain some offensive language for a general audience. Please stay civil, consult an English dictionary, and verify that the singular/plural forms are bacterium/bacteria. Have a nice day.
Dear Material scientist:
I will not look up Bacterium/Bacteria in English dictionary because I am talking not about English but about taxonomy. If you had junior level education in biology you would know that in biology and medicine taxonomic names are in latin, not English. I learned these things in junior school.
And one more thing: Please do not remove my comments, because I am not removing yours. I staded the truth, and did not call anyone names etc. nor used vulgar words. Scientific atrocities should be stoped. People like you just turn science into metascience and do not let the truth to come out. I am not violating your freedom of speech and therefore I ask you to not violate mine especially when I am right and you are wrong. If you do not agree that professional taxonomy has latin names and that singular of plural word "Bacteriae" is "Bacteria" please prove it to me instead of trying to shut my mouth and keeping false information untouched. Someone who does not have idea about something should not write publications about such thing, and especially should not remove others comments like you did. It is a shame to the author of the article that someone like me who has just high-school knowledge of biology could point out simple mistake to probably someone with college degree. I will be back and I will keep bringing this comment back as long as it is being removed until someone corrects the article. I am not writing articles because I am not an expert, but the one who is writing wikipedia should be an expert and should never remove the voice of truth and contribute to the abrasion of science. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SUPERSOKOL (talkcontribs) 08:01, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I see what you mean. I am not much of a specialist in domain names either, but I can read this page and its references and understand that some international naming conventions might defy common sense. So how about staying civil and reading a bit? Materialscientist (talk) 08:17, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Ok guys, bacteria is plural. It's singular is "bacterium". This is because all Latin nouns have a gender associated with them. For the most part, masculine words end in -us in the singular and -i in the plural. Thus, the proper plural of "fungus" is "fungi". Feminine words end in -a in the singular and -ae in the plural (e.g. "antenna" is the singular for "antennae"). However some Latin nouns are neuter, i.e. they lack a gender. Neuter nouns end in -um in the singular and -a in the plural. "Bacterium" is a neuter Latin noun derived from a Greek word meaning "little stick" (the first bacteria seen were rod shaped). "Bacteria" is the correct Latin plural. Alexpolino (talk) 20:37, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
Indeed it is in English we say "one bacterium" and "two bacteria" and the adjective is "bacterial". Graham Colm (talk) 20:53, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Single cells

Sorry about the brevity and perhaps my ignorance. I only had a quick look at this article—and I didn't notice it anywhere pointing out that a single bacterium (I mean an individual organism, of any bacterial species) is a single-celled organism. I sure hope I'm right in thinking that each individual organism is only one cell. If indeed an individual bacterial organism has only one cell, and if indeed the article doesn't already say that (preferably in the first paragraph), then it should be added. President Lethe away! President Lethe (talk) 22:24, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

It is in the first sentence, although as a linked technical term. "The bacteria are a large group of unicellular microorganisms." This isn't quite true in all cases though, and a couple of possible exceptions are discussed further in paragraph five of Bacteria#Morphology. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:44, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
There is no such domain as "Bacteria". —Preceding unsigned comment added by SUPERSOKOL (talkcontribs) 07:07, 19 November 2010 (UTC)


Added a short blurb on Vampirococcus, came here to link it in, but I'm apparently too new. Jeweaver (talk) 19:20, 20 October 2009 (UTC)jeweaver

I've linked it, nice article, thank you. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:39, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Quick test?

Just to make sure: There are no quick tests, like dipsticks or some such, that directly test for bacteria and identify a certain type "while-u-wait", are there? The urine dipsticks test for metabolites, and if you want to know which bug it is, you still need a lab, even if PCR might speed things up a bit compared to cultures?--Diogenes75 (talk) 09:47, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

This is an interesting question, the answer depends on the species of bacterium that is causing the infection. For normally sterile body fluids such as blood and CSF, (the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord), there are relatively quick latex agglutination tests that can be used, but the results still have to be confirmed by culture. In cases of meningococcal meningitis a simple Gram stain of the the CSF can suffice, and this is often the case with N. gonorrhoea. PCR tests are quicker than culture, but they are often very expensive and labour intensive. Culture is almost always still required for serious infections because antibiotic sensitivity test will be needed and these are done using live cultures. One of the problems with PCR, and one which is often overlooked, is that this test does not differentiate between living and dead bacteria. Successfully treated infections can give positive PCR results because bacterial DNA is still present. Possibly, the only valuable, "while-u-wait" test is the Gram stain for gonorrhea. The other tests which are used are really intended for use on patients in hospitals. Graham Colm Talk 17:06, 13 December 2009 (UTC)


The name "Heliobacter pylori" in the "Pathogens" subsection should be in italics, no? (talk) 05:22, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Quite right!  Done ~ Amory (utc) 05:43, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Automate archiving?

Does anyone object to me setting up automatic archiving for this page using MiszaBot? Unless otherwise agreed, I would set it to archive threads that have been inactive for 30 days and keep ten threads.--Oneiros (talk) 14:03, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

 Done--Oneiros (talk) 21:38, 3 February 2010 (UTC)


According to this section in Prokaryotes, and for example this source, some bacterial populations are beginning to be considered as multicellular organisms. In some colonies they seem to perform a variety of classical multicellular functions, including defense against antagonists, selective gene expression (differentiation), inter-cellular communication via multiple molecular signals, resource exploitation (which cannot be done by individual cells), a primitive "circulatory system", etc. This behavior is shown by a variety of bacteria species, both Gram negative and positive. This topic seems to be focused on Bacteria, yet the Prokaryote article, which covers both Archaea and Bacteria, appears to have more content related to this than the Bacteria article, where all I can find is the brief Communication section, and some Quorum sensing-related aspects in the last paragraph of morphology. It would seem to me that these are not morphological issues, go beyond mere "communication", and deserve a dedicated section focused on the general topic of bacteria multicelluarity, similar to the "Sociality" section in Prokaryotes. Comments? Crum375 (talk) 02:56, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

There is some discussion of this area in the last two paragraphs of the Bacteria#Morphology section. Tim Vickers (talk) 05:26, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, and I referred to that in my message above: a. I don't think it's a morphology issue; b. I don't think the coverage there addresses the breadth of the issue (i.e. the big picture); and c. I think the Prokaryote "Sociality" section is more appropriate, but since most (or all?) data seems focused on Bacteria, it seems to belong in Bacteria more than in Prokaryotes. Crum375 (talk) 05:34, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I expanded the "Communication" section a bit, with a link to the "Sociality" section in Prokaryotes, but I feel this needs a lot of work to represent, at a minimum, the review in the cited reference. I also feel the related multicellular coordination items should be moved out of "Morphology". The title "Communication" should also be changed, e.g. to "Multicellularity" or "Sociality". Crum375 (talk) 03:16, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

OK, so bacterial colonies can defend from antagonists and such. The fact remains that a single cell extracted from such a colony remains viable to survive. The cells are not truly specialized as are those of multicellular organisms. Speaking as a Biology Major, the proper term for this is social (or colonial), but not multicellular. While the functions you refer to are classically multicellular, the more current definition of multicellularity is one where a single extracted cell could not survive in the wild. (Colonized human liver and blood cells survive with enough artificial help not to be considered natural.) The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 21:37, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

The thing is, Wikipedia is all about what reliable sources say, not what we as Wikipedians think. Crum375 (talk) 21:48, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
What I've learned in class isn't personal opinion. This reliable source [1] makes a fairly clear distinction between colonial cooperation and true multicellularity. I suggest paying special attention to the sections entitled "Single Cells Can Associate to Form Colonies" and "The Cells of a Higher Organism Become Specialized and Cooperate," and, within that, the explanation on how Volvox is multicellular while Myxobacteria (regarded as having the best-organized colonies in the Domain Bacteria) are colonial but not truly multicellular under normal circumstances. There is an arguable exception for extreme circumstances, when these bacteria form more highly specialized "fruiting bodies." When things improve, the fruiting bodies dissolve into individual cells. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 04:33, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
What you've learned in class appears to be an old textbook from 1994. The more modern scholarly source I included as example gives you a better overview of the latest developments in this area. Crum375 (talk) 04:48, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
No, my textbook Copywrite Dates are all in the current millenium, most of them just a couple years old or even brand new. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 04:43, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, here is the source you provided above. If you scroll to the bottom, you will note the copyright date is 1994, about 16 years ago. If you don't trust that, check the list of references, which are all old, from 1993 and earlier. Also, this textbook-level article focuses on the cell, not on bacteria. The topic of bacteria multicellularity, as described by this source, is relatively new, so you need modern references for it. Crum375 (talk) 14:34, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
My actual textbooks are harder to navigate than sources I manage to isolate on Google, although I occasionally cite them here on Wiki. (I cited my Genetics book in the domestic cat Article and no one took it seriously. It's a college text at 200-level, so it's not even an introductory (100-level) book, and people here still don't listen to it. It shows that Wikipedia priorities need to be sorted, but I digress. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 06:14, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, which is a tertiary source. Therefore, per WP:PSTS, it should be primarily based on secondary sources. Textbooks (as well as other encyclopedias) are tertiary, so reliance on them should be kept to a minimum. In general, the best sources for scientific articles are reports published in reputable scientific journals surveying recent work and/or the state of the art, such as this source for the bacteria multicellularity topic. Crum375 (talk) 12:28, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Way ahead of you there, I also ran database searches of primary and secondary sources, and found that a majority of articles I found backed me in that discussion. People still let Wikiality take over. Besides, while most 100-level textbooks are truly tertiary, 200-level and higher textbooks often do cite a number of primary articles as their sources. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 18:24, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Good. So hopefully you can provide us modern high quality scholarly secondary sources surveying the latest understanding of bacteria multicellularity. Crum375 (talk) 19:33, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Earlier today, I asked Microbiology Professor Jeffrey Newman for the difference between colonial and multicellular organisms. His response was that colonial cells can naturally survive outside the colony if extracted, while cells of multicellular organisms can not do so. (The key word is "naturally" in this case. Colonized cells from true animals including humans, for example, survive with too much artificial help to satisfy this definition for colonial life.) So, since bacterial cells can survive if somehow separated from their colony in the wild, they are colonial rather than multicellular. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 02:21, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
In that case, next time you see Professor Newman, show him this paper, and ask him to please read it (if he hasn't already). Then ask him what would happen if you take a single differentiated bacterium, which has undergone a differentiation to support the colony with one specific functionality, and presumably depends on it for its support, and remove it into the wild. Will this differentiated bacterium survive on its own? Also, if you have a modern source, ideally a scholarly paper, which refutes the information in the source I linked, please provide it. Thanks, Crum375 (talk) 04:34, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
In other words, find any paper newer than 1998 that refers to bacteria as unicellular but colonial. The paper you provided is cited "Vol. 52: 81-104 (Volume publication date October 1998) (doi:10.1146/annurev.micro.52.1.81)" [Italics added]. Like I said, Myxobacteria only fully differentiate under emergency circumstances for the survival of the group, and even then it's a temporary thing. On MedLine, the Search terms "Bacteria unicellular colonial" yield 129,301 articles that are actually newer than the one you cited. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 15:23, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
You have still not provided any scientific paper refuting the reference I provided. As I noted at the top of this thread, Wikipedia requires verifiable and reliable sources, not anonymous people telling us what they heard on the grapevine. For scientific topics we need (ideally) high quality scholarly works focused on the subject matter. Crum375 (talk) 15:34, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
I searched MedLine and not Google for that very reason. MedLine indexes only primary and secondary biological articles. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 22:43, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Your search techniques are not so important. What is important is the bottom line: can you provide a reference to a paper published in a respected scientific journal addressing and refuting the conclusions presented by this source? Crum375 (talk) 22:54, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
I just might isolate such a source when the semester ends. Right now, I'm trying to prove points here on my down time without spending too much energy, while investing that energy in actual course work. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 06:28, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
OK, but consider that on Wikipedia you can only "prove points" using reliable sources. Crum375 (talk) 12:39, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Quorum sensing

The phenamanon we've all been referring to in this section is called "quorum sensing," and it's considered a separate category from true multicellularity.

  • Camara, M., Hardman, A., Williams, P., and Milton, D. 2002. "Quorum Sensing in Vibrio cholerae." Nature Genetics. 32: 217-218.
  • Federle, M.J. and Bassler, B.L. 2003. "Interspecies Communication in Bacteria." The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 112: 1291-1299.
  • Suga, H. and Smith, K.M. 2003. "Molecular Mechanisms of Bacterial Quorum Sensing as a New Drug Target." Current Opinion in Chemical Biology. 7: 586-591.

All these sources were cited on Page 450 of Concepts of Genetics (9th Edition), by Klug, Cummings, Spencer, and Palladino. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 19:47, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Not quite. Quorum sensing (QS) is one type of inter-cellular communication, but not an exclusive one. It is false to equate it with the broader topic of bacteria multicelluarity, since QS is one (important) method of communication, while bacteria multicelluarity includes many other aspects, such as the various differentiation types, division of labor, primitive "circulatory systems", non quorum-sensing communication methods, etc. The point of this topic is the overall concept of bacterial colonies growing and functioning as a single organism, not one specific method their cells use to communicate. Please read the paper I linked, and you'll get a better idea about both concepts and how they relate to each other. Crum375 (talk) 20:59, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I should point out a taxonomic issue that adds a grain of salt to how one takes that article. It refers to the Taxon Bacteria as a single Kingdom ("eubacterial kingdom"), not as a Domain whose 16 Phyla are still disputed as to if and how they might be grouped into 2-4 Kingdoms. I seem to remember the Taxon Bacteria as the latter. (If I had to offer an educated guess, I would propose a hypothesis that the Domain Bacteria includes only 1 surviving Kingdom, where the ancestral RNA World would be an extinct Kingdom sharing the Domain Bacteria.) Anyway, classes based on more recent material than this 1998 article have still taught me a difference between colonial and multicellular, and it should be noted that cultured bacteria may behave in a more specialized manner than they would in the wild. Many bacterial species can certainly be colonial. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 05:02, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
What you learn in class, or your personal knowledge, is not relevant for Wikipedia's purposes. Wikipedia is based on verifiable and reliable sources, not on our personal knowledge or opinions. If you'd like to contribute to the topic of bacteria multicellularity, you need to cite reliable sources which add information to the ones we have, such as this paper. Crum375 (talk) 12:19, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
The 3 papers I cited at the start of this Subsection are good for Quorum Sensing info if nothing else. Regardless, I don't have to cite that the Taxon Bacteria is Domain-level. That's accepted common knowledge. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 04:02, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
There are lots of sources for quorum sensing and the three domains, but those are not at issue here. The topic here is bacteria multicellularity, as described by this source. If you have something to add to it, you need a reliable source which directly addresses it. Crum375 (talk) 13:03, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

E. Coli Picture

Do we really need this picture ( under "Growth and reproduction?" There are a couple of reasons why this picture bothers me. It's not a realistic image to the point that, given only the image, no one would be able to identify it. Next, it's color-coded but the colors only serve to confuse since there is no key or explanation. Finally, it doesn't further my understanding of bacterial growth or reproduction. It doesn't show bacteria growing or reproducing, like a couple of .gif's I have seen nor does it show a stage in growth or reproduction. There are better pictures to show growth than a drawing of a static colony. Occamsrazorwit (talk) 20:18, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

What would you suggest as a replacement? Tim Vickers (talk) 21:34, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Possibly something like this ( Idk, it's just that the E. Coli picture bugs me. Maybe someone else can find a more relevant picture. Occamsrazorwit (talk) 03:44, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
New gif version uploaded. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:15, 6 August 2010 (UTC)


The introduction suggests that bacteria only live on planet Earth. Is this true? Are there no bacteria on the Moon or on Mars, e.g.? (talk) 13:42, 14 August 2010 (UTC)1 Geografiskt läge

If you have any reliable sources which tell us there are bacteria (or life) outside planet Earth, please provide them. Crum375 (talk) 14:06, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Most people believe that there is no such thing as bacteria outside of Earth. That would be equivalent to extra-terrestrial life i.e. aliens (but not in the common sense of the word). However, there have been claims made by scientists regarding possible outer space bacteria ( or fossils of these bacteria but there are no definitive results. I guess the article should have mentioned that this fact has not been established yet and plenty of speculation remains. Occamsrazorwit (talk) 08:58, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
The article does not say that there are extra-terrestrial bacteria, the only statement close to this is in the section on endospores, which states that "endospores even allow bacteria to survive exposure to the vacuum and radiation in space" (PMID 15748651), which deals with the problem of contaminating other planets with Earth bacteria during space exploration. The putative fossilised extraterrestrial microbes can't be classified as bacteria or archaea (they might be an entirely different form of life or not the remains of living things at all) so including them in this article based solely on morphological similarity would be very misleading. Tim Vickers (talk) 16:45, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Origin and early evolution

The "Origin and early evolution section" says:

"The most recent common ancestor of bacteria and archaea was probably a hyperthermophile that lived about 2.5 billion–3.2 billion years ago."

It supports this statement by quoting two references:

1. Di Giulio M (2003). "The universal ancestor and the ancestor of bacteria were hyperthermophiles". J Mol Evol 57 (6): 721–30. doi:10.1007/s00239-003-2522-6. PMID 14745541.

2. Battistuzzi FU, Feijao A, Hedges SB (November 2004). "A genomic timescale of prokaryote evolution: insights into the origin of methanogenesis, phototrophy, and the colonization of land". BMC Evolutionary Biology 4: 44. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-4-44. PMID 15535883.

However, the references do not support this statement. For example, the second article (the one by Battistuzzi and Hedges) says:

Divergence time estimates for the major groups of eubacteria are between 2.5–3.2 billion years ago (Ga) while those for archaebacteria are mostly between 3.1–4.1 Ga. The time estimates suggest a Hadean origin of life (prior to 4.1 Ga), an early origin of methanogenesis (3.8–4.1 Ga), an origin of anaerobic methanotrophy after 3.1 Ga, an origin of phototrophy prior to 3.2 Ga, an early colonization of land 2.8–3.1 Ga, and an origin of aerobic methanotrophy 2.5–2.8 Ga.

What they are saying is that the divergence date for the 3 major groups of eubacteria (Actinobacteria, Deinococcus, and Cyanobacteria) are between 2.5 and 3.2 billion years ago. This is not the same as saying "The most recent common ancestor of bacteria and archaea was probably a hyperthermophile that lived about 2.5 billion–3.2 billion years ago".

It stands to reason that if the 3 major groups of eubacteria diverged from each other at 2.5-3.2 billion years ago, then eubacteria must have diverged from archea even earlier.

As they say later in the article, this is a guess, since a date for the common ancestor of eubacteria and archaebacteria has not been calculated. There are only various minimum estimates. Their estimates are <4 billion years, as stated here:

"Neither the time for the origin of life, nor the divergence of archaebacteria and eubacteria, was estimated directly in this study. Nonetheless, one divergence within archaebacteria was estimated to be as old as 4.11 Ga (Node P), suggesting even earlier dates for the last common ancestor of living organisms and the origin of life."

In fact, this is reiterated in a more recent publication by the same group. The publication is "The Timetree of Life" by S. Blair Hedges and Sudhir Kumar (Oxford Press). Quoting from this:

"An initial split (~4200 Ma) led to the Superkingdoms Eubacteria and Archaebacteria."

I haven't ever directly edited any Wikipedia page, and am unsure whether this is a good idea for a Wikipedia newbie like me. Therefore, I am putting my comments on the talk page. I hope someone will confirm the details I have provided and correct the article.

Xen1977 (talk) 21:05, 29 September 2010 (UTC) Xenofon

Thanks for pointing that out, apologies it's taken so long for someone to respond! I'm not sure how to correct it, but have asked some other people to take a look. If you see errors again, don't be afraid to be BOLD and fix them. SmartSE (talk) 21:28, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Rcats needed

{{editprotected}} The following redirects need redirect categories/category parameters added:

#REDIRECT [[Bacteria]]{{R to plural|printworthy}}{{R from move}}

That will subdue the Unprintworthy cat and add the redirect to Category:Printworthy redirects.

#REDIRECT [[Talk:Bacteria]]{{R to talk}}

Thank you in advance for making these code modifications.  —  Paine Ellsworth ( CLIMAX )  19:19, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

 Done. Also unprotected that talk page. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 11:56, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Once again, I thank you very much, Martin! Just curious as to why the full protection on the singular redirect? The target is only semi-protected, if I'm not mistaken.  —  Paine Ellsworth ( CLIMAX )  15:57, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • PS. Never mind. I was able to receive the kind help of the administrator who had added full protection to modify it to semi. Cheers!  — Paine Ellsworth ( CLIMAX ) 

Toxin-producing bacteria>

In the modern Darwinian model of evolution, what survival/evolutionary benefit does it confer to the bacteria to produce toxin(s) that kill the host (take your pick: cholera, bubonic plague, etc, etc, etc)? There must be some; the article says that these are very ancient bacteria. Old_Wombat (talk) 09:26, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Bacteria have not evolved to kill people. Bacteria have evolved to multiply and spread. Toxicity that helps the bacteria spread to new hosts (by inducing diarrhea, for example) confers a survival benefit. When or if the host dies is not relevant if the bacteria can successfully spread to new hosts. -- Donald Albury 10:43, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
See the article Optimal virulence, which discusses this topic in detail. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:00, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Ahh, two good answers. That Optimal virulence article answers my question exactly and I would not have thought to even look for such a title on my own. Dumbass me. Thank you all. Old_Wombat (talk) 09:07, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Not "dumbass" at all. This illustrates the paradox of large amounts of information being available, but without more intelligent search agents, not being findable. I happened to know that there is a field called "evolutionary medicine" which covers this topic; from the article on this I found "optimal virulence". I don't see how you would find this unless you first knew where to look... Peter coxhead (talk) 10:43, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. I knew that the topic has been studied, but my (admittedly quick and sloppy) search didn't find a relevant article. -- Donald Albury 12:37, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Plasma membrane

In the section, "Cellular structure", the term "plasma membrane" is introduced with no explanation: "However, in many photosynthetic bacteria the plasma membrane is highly folded". Is it the same as the "cell membrane" or different? AndreasLotheOpdahl (talk) 07:37, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes, they're the same. I fixed it in the article. Jojojlj (talk) 09:22, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Number of species (redux)

Some observations. Cyanophytes are Bacteria. Under the three-domain system, all Bacteria are prokaryotes, but not all prokaryotes are Bacteria (some are Archaea). We do not add together the number of cyanophytes and the number of prokaryotes to get the number of Bacteria. The source at gives a figure of 9,278 species of prokaryotes. This would include all Bacteria (including all cyanobateria) and all Archaea. This source from 2006, Staley, James T. (2006 November 29). "The bacterial species dilemma and the genomic-phylogenetic species concept". Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences. 361 (1475): 1899–1909. doi:10.1098/rstb.2006.1914. Retrieved 13 December 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help), states that there were then about 5,000 named species of Bacteria and Archaea. A 1990s source I saw stated there were then about 4,000 described species of bacteria (presumably including Archaea). I will change the article back to reflect this. -- Donald Albury 22:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree. Graham Colm (talk) 22:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Uhm... I think the problem with Cyanobacteria is not that it was not part of Monera in many schemes —incessant Christian vandalisms to Monera apart—, but that the vast majority of cyanobacterial species are not validly described, even "Nostoc" and "Acharyochloris". However, the more fundamental problem of "bacterial species" is not addressed. In my mishmash Bacterial taxonomy I have a section (Bacterial taxonomy#Species concept) that briefly touches upon it, Species problem does not talk about non-animal, so to the best of my knowledge, there is not article in Wikipedia about Bacterial species problem (along with many other pages). I think the take-home message should be that the definition of species is near meaningless for Bacteria and that only 5,000 or so species have so far been properly classified (by properly I mean validly, but properly is more legible in layman English). Regarding the exact figure —I thought 5,000 too—, Euzeby's site ( may the most accurate source of species number, although this page in particular is not: there is not only the Archaea issue, but also an issue with basonyms (ie. if it changed name, it will have be counted twice). It is a shame as all other sources will be out of date or estimates, but maybe it should be switched with a paper. On a side comment, 700 new species a year is a cool figure, shame those tables in LPSN are not also in graph form... Digressions apart, I think the sentence should have a different message. --Squidonius (talk) 06:01, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
The Staley article I linked to above discusses the problem of defining species of bacteria. There are surely enough reliable sources out there to support a good article/section on the problem. The species concept is a bit blurred, even in mammals (see Talk:Red Wolf). -- Donald Albury 12:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Extra (

Just working on a PowerPoint for my high school biology class and noticed an extra open parenthesis '(' in the growth and development section. Since the article was locked, I did not think I could do anything. Thanks and keep up the good work wikipedia!

Axc201 (talk) 04:33, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Fixed, thanks. Materialscientist (talk) 04:37, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 4 March 2012

Request for a spelling correction - under the Pathogens section, a sentence in the 3rd paragraph currently reads:

Infections can be prevented by antiseptic measures such as sterilizating the skin prior to piercing it with the needle of a syringe, and by proper care of indwelling catheters.

Please correct "sterilizating" to "sterilizing". (talk) 12:17, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Fixed, thanks. Materialscientist (talk) 12:34, 4 March 2012 (UTC)


When it said there are about 5×1030 bacteria, I deleted the “five nonillion” and left just the exponent; to avoid long/short scale conflicts; and also because I find it illogical that bi- means two, but billion means (103)3; tri- means three, but trillion means (103)4; quad- means four, but quadrillion means (103)5; etc., an endless chain shift. Okay?--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 11:31, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Article's discussion of biofilms

In the section on morphology, the article strays into biofilms which is really a behavioral phenomenon rather than a morphological one. And it seems to suggest that quorum sensing and aggregation are more complex behaviors than creating biofilms, when in fact that's how the biofilms form. Also, in biofilms as well as in fruiting bodies, the bacteria similarly cooperate and perform different tasks. The section in the behavior section regarding biofilms looks pretty accurate (I've co-authored a scientific paper on the subject). I suggest we scrap the paragraph about biofilms within morphology, and maybe move some of the content about myxospores into the behavior section (but delete it from the morphology section).

Side note: I also noticed that the periplasmic space (between cell wall and cell membrane) is mentioned before any discussion of cell walls, which is bound to confuse people. And even within the discussion of cell walls, the periplasmic space is never defined.

Another side note: I take issue with the first sentence in the article. "Bacteria constitute a large domain (or kingdom) of prokaryotic microorganisms." They have a domain to themselves; kingdoms are subclassifications within domains. And the layperson who's trying to figure out what is this tiny thing they've heard about and they think it's maybe called bacteria? They'll run away when they read the first sentence of the article!! I don't think we need to introduce the word 'microorganism' yet, and certainly not 'prokaryotic'. Hmm. "Bacteria represent a large domain of single-celled organisms." Even there, organisms might be too much, but better than microorganisms. What do you think?

Jojojlj (talk) 10:06, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Bacteria Living in Space

The first paragraph suggests that bacteria can live in space and cites a Nasa article. Unfortunately, if you read the Nasa article, you will see that they say bacteria can live in spaceships, not space. Just thought I would point this out.

Dishione (talk) 03:06, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

vs. Archaea?

1. The Wikipedia article on archaea says they are "prokaryotes, meaning that they have no cell nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelles within their cells." The present article on bacteria says that bacteria are prokaryotes that "rarely harbour membrane-bound organelles." This is confusing. Are there bacteria that harbour membrane-bound organelles? If yes, the archaea article is wrong, and the phrase quoted here should be corrected. If no, the text in this article containing "rarely harbour membrane-bound organelles" should be modified to be clearer. The Wikipedia article on prokaryote says that "prokaryotes are a group of organisms whose cells lack a membrane-bound nucleus". This sounds like the archaea text is misleading. I'm confused.

2. Is there a succinct summary of the difference between bacteria and archaea? I don't see one either here or in the article on archaea. I'd like something that is easy for a lay person to remember. The Wikipedia article on eukaryote says they all have a membrane-bound nucleus. That's easy for me to remember. It would also help to know what is positive or "pro" about prokaryotes. That, too, would make it easier for people to learn. I remember hearing that prokaryotes were originally distinguished from eukaryotes on the basis of a certain test in which prokaryotes accepted a stain and eukaryotes did not, although that may no longer be consistent with current usage. I don't find the word "stain" in either the eukaryote or the prokaryote article, so I don't know. However, I think it would help people remember some explanation is provided of what's "pro" about "prokaryotes". Perhaps a section on "History" could be added to the eukaryote and prokaryote articles explaining this.

3. Is there some reason bacteria, archaea, and eukaryota are spelled in some places with an initial capital, like Bacteria? If yes, is this explained in the current article and I missed it? If no, could this please be changed to conform with Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters?

Thanks, DavidMCEddy (talk) 18:35, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 January 2014

Error in structure of sentence in first paragraph, should read:

Bacteria also live in plants and animals (see symbiosis), and have flourished in manned space vehicles. (talk) 21:48, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Fixing, thanks. Materialscientist (talk) 23:52, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Major issue with first sentence

Domain does not equal kingdom. Domain is a level of classification above kingdom. The eubacteria represent a monophyletic domain and are comprised of several kingdoms. Please fix this immediately.

Theropod — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:38, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

I fixed the first sentence and changed part of the first paragraph. The introductory portion of this article needs major revisions though. The information is helpful, but the first and second paragraphs duplicate their efforts. They could be consolidated. Secondly, I like including the history, and some of it may be useful to introduce the reader to the topic. I'll continue working on the introduction. If you see improvements make them; I've given my opinion on the topic. Theropod (talk) 23:53, 26 June 2013 (UTC)Theropod
Ah, taxonomy. As of right now, there is both a domain and kingdom named "Bacteria" and they're basically the same thing. Some of this problem is that splitting things into these sort of groups is going to always have some subjectivity. But because the terminology is still used as a kingdom, I'd argue to keep that term in. Scaldwell17 (talk) 17:33, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 16 January 2014

I thought the discovery of bacteria occurred in 1676 not 1683. (talk) 05:30, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. --Anon126 (talk - contribs) 23:12, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Done. The cited source says 1676. --Anon126 (talk - contribs) 23:14, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Fungi is smelly stuff that grew on your Nan. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:55, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Bacteria also live in symbiotic and parasitic relationships with plants and animals.

This sentence from the first paragraph maybe should be re-written. Parasitism is a type of symbiosis. I would suggest "Bacteria also live in mutualistic, commensualistic, and parasitic relationships with plants, animals, and other organisms." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:53, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Bacteria also live in symbiotic and parasitic relationships with plants and animals.

This sentence from the first paragraph maybe should be re-written. Parasitism is a type of symbiosis. I would suggest "Bacteria also live in mutualistic, commensualistic, and parasitic relationships with plants, animals, and other organisms." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:58, 17 May 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 25 July 2014

I suggest a small grammar change in the section Classification and Identification. In the sentence "Once a pathogenic organism has been isolated, it can be further characterised by its morphology, growth patterns such as (aerobic or anaerobic growth, patterns of hemolysis) and staining." the open parentheses needs to be moved to replace the comma currently inside it, and another comma added after the end of the parentheses. This is the last sentence in the second to last paragraph in the section. (talk) 17:45, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Anon126 (notify me of responses! / talk / contribs) 05:33, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

Copyright violation and incorrect information about Gram stain type

Braineeee (talk) 20:32, 11 October 2014 (UTC)I'm in a Biology course in post secondary school (ie. College) and I needed to find some information about Gram staining. I found a page with the exact same image (from a published book) only a different color. Its the image claimed to have been made by LadyOfHats and uploaded by NI74 in 2006 on this page. Changing 10% of an image (ie. its color) or other copyrighted work does not make it yours to release for free on the internet or in the public domain. That is a violation of copyright law as well. The correct Gram stain for this type of bacteria is Gram negative (using a red/pink Safranin or Fuchsine) dye. The image on this page is blue, and that is completely incorrect, it should be pink. I'm just a tad bit upset that I had to add this comment, and I had to waste my time double checking this for a homework assignment. Other Wikipedia pages about bacteria have conflicting information with this one. My sources are: and

Number 1
Number 2
Hi @Braineeee: Thanks for your post. Is Number 1 the image you refer to first? If it is then it's almost certain that the book you read copied the image from Wikipedia rather than the other way around. User:LadyofHats makes amazing illustrations and releases them into the public domain so that anyone can republish them wherever they like.
I think you also refer to number 2 which was taken from p4. of this paper and I agree that it is a little different to the original. The image is in the public domain however as it was created by employees of the Centre for Disease Control. Unfortunately it is difficult to find good images for us to use and in this case this might be the best that we can find and we need someone with a good microscope to donate a better one. SmartSE (talk) 21:37, 11 October 2014 (UTC)


This is a very useful source on bacteria. My thanks to to all who put it together .

I am confused about one thing. The text refers to bacteria having RNA in its chromosome whereas the diagram of a bacterium refers to DNA. is there an error in the diagram or am I missing something? Andrew Morris — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:12, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

I think you mean these two sentences: "Most bacteria do not have a membrane-bound nucleus, and their genetic material is typically a single circular chromosome located in the cytoplasm in an irregularly shaped body called the nucleoid. The nucleoid contains the chromosome with its associated proteins and RNA." This means that the chromosome is made of DNA, but the nucleoid also contains RNA and proteins. Clarified here. Opabinia regalis (talk) 19:47, 1 April 2015 (UTC)