Spirillum is a type of bacteria, invisible to the naked eye, that moves like a corkscrew.
Spirillum is a type of bacteria that moves in a characteristic spiral, or corkscrew shape. It normally lives as individual cells, rather than being associated in groups or chains. There is also a genus of gram-negative bacteria known as Spirillum, most of the members living in water with a lot of organic matter, like stagnant pools. A notable exception is Spirillum minus (S. minus), which is one of two types of bacteria that can cause mouse-bite fever.
Most types of bacteria have flagella, which are whip-like appendages that aid in their movement; spirillum has flagella at both ends, resulting in a characteristic spiral.
Most types of bacteria have flagella, or whip-like appendages, that help them move through solutions. Bacteria of this genus have unusual types of flagella. Originally, these bacteria were thought to have an individual flagellum at each end of their cells, but now it is known that they have a cluster at each end, made up of about 75 individual appendages. It is their movement that causes the organisms to move in their characteristic corkscrew fashion.
Rat bite fever can occur as a result of a rat bite.
Spirillum volutans has been extensively studied as it is one of the largest species of bacteria. It was observed by the first microscopists and identified in 1832. The name of this organism comes from the carbohydrate storage granules inside the organism, known as volutin.
These bacteria can be difficult to grow, and S. volutans could not be grown in pure culture until recently. It turns out that the body needs small amounts of oxygen, but is poisoned by environmental concentrations. When there were contaminating organisms in the cultures, they used enough oxygen so that S. volutans could grow, but when it was in pure culture, it couldn’t grow with the highest concentrations of oxygen. Once this requirement was understood, the researchers were able to grow this bacterium in pure culture.
The Spirillaceae family is closely related to the family that includes the Spirochaetes. This family of bacteria includes several human pathogens, including the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and syphilis. These organisms are also spirillae and move in a corkscrew fashion. They differ from Spirillaceae in having specialized structures instead of flagella and in having an outer sheath.
One species of the genus, S. minus, is a human pathogen. It is one of the causative agents of rat bite fever, although this form of the disease is found less frequently than other bacterial forms. It is primarily a problem in Asia, being known as sodoku in Japan. This disease is usually contracted through the bites of rats, mice and other rodents, or through exposure to urine or secretions from an infected animal.