From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Proteobacteria
Class: Betaproteobacteria
Order: Neisseriales
Family: Neisseriaceae
or Vitreoscillaceae
Genus: Vitreoscilla
Pringsheim 1949

Vitreoscilla is a genus of Gram-negative aerobic bacterium.[1] The bacterial haemoglobin (VHb) was first discovered from Vitreoscilla, and VHb is found to have a wide range of biological and biotechnological applications including promotion of cell growth, protein synthesis, metabolite productivity, respiration, cellular detoxification, fermentation, and biodegradation.[2]


The generic name is derived from the Latin adjective vitreus, which means clear or transparent; and the noun oscillum, meaning a swing. Thus Vitreoscilla is used to describe the bacterium as the transparent swing or oscillator, the way it exhibits locomotion.


There are three valid species under the genus, namely[3]

  • Vitreoscilla beggiatoides Pringsheim 1949 (type species)
  • Vitreoscilla filiformis (ex Pringsheim 1951) Strohl et al. 1986
  • Vitreoscilla stercoraria Pringsheim 1951


Members of Vitreoscilla are obligate aerobic bacteria, which are morphologically colourless filaments that contain cells with diameters of 1-3 μm and 1-12 μm long. Each filament may contain from 1 to 40 cells. Locomotion is by gliding, and no special locomotor organelles are present. The cell walls are composed of the amino acids alanine, glutamate, and diaminopimelic acid, with approximate molar ratios of 2:1:1.[4][5]


Vitreoscilla bacteria have a unique property in that they produces a type of haemoglobin, VHb. This molecule unlike classic haemoglobin is composed only of a single globin molecule.[6] VHb is known to have a wide variety of functions including improving cell growth, protein synthesis, enhanced metabolism, nitric oxide detoxification, increase respiration and production of ethanol.[2] Some of these properties have been exploited as potential benefits in biotechnology and industry.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Skerman VBD, McGowan V, Sneath PHA, editors (1989). Approved Lists of Bacterial Names (Amended). Washington, DC: ASM Press. ISBN 978-1-55581-014-6. PMID 20806452. 
  2. ^ a b Stark BC, Dikshit KL, Pagilla KR (2011). "Recent advances in understanding the structure, function, and biotechnological usefulness of the hemoglobin from the bacterium Vitreoscilla". Biotechnol Lett. 33 (9): 1705–1714. doi:10.1007/s10529-011-0621-9. PMID 21603987. 
  3. ^ Euzéby JP. "List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature - Genus Vitreoscilla". Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  4. ^ Costerton JW, Murray RG, Robinow CF (1961). "Observations on the motility and the structure of Vitreoscilla". Can J Microbiol. 7: 329–339. doi:10.1139/m61-040. PMID 13695850. 
  5. ^ Fackrell H (1998). "Vitreoscilla". University of Windsor. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  6. ^ Stark BC, Dikshit KL, Pagilla KR (2012). "The Biochemistry of Vitreoscilla hemoglobin". Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. 3 (4): e201210002. doi:10.5936/csbj.201210002. 
  7. ^ Yu H, Shen Z (1999). "Progress in research of Vitreoscilla hemoglobin and Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene". Wei Sheng Wu Xue Bao. 39 (5): 478–482. PMID 12555532. 
  8. ^ Isarankura-Na-Ayudhya C, Panpumthong P, Tangkosakul T, Boonpangrak S, Prachayasittikul V (2008). "Shedding light on the role of Vitreoscilla hemoglobin on cellular catabolic regulation by proteomic analysis". Int J Biol Sci. 4 (2): 71–82. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4.71. PMC 2267286free to read. PMID 18345284. 

External links[edit]