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Schenectady County Community College

Proteus vulgaris, P. mirabilis

Gram stain:  negative
Cell shape:  bacillus
Oxygen requirements:  facultative anaerobe
Other:  Very actively motile; exhibit swarming behavior - form concentric rings as they spread across the surface of agar plates.

Habitat:  Human intestinal tract, soil, water, plants

Pathogenicity:  These organisms usually do not grow well in the intestinal tract but can act as opportunistic pathogens causing infant diarrhea and cause approximately 29% of all urinary tract infections (due to proximity of urethra to anal canal). They have also been associated with wound infections due to direct contact.

Treatment:  ampicillin and aminoglycosides

These bacteria have also been associated with food spoilage in fresh meat, poultry and seafood probably due to improper handling. They can utilize both aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration pathways. For anaerobic pathways, they can use nitrate and sulfur as the final electron acceptors.


Gram stain of Proteus at 1000x
Proteus mirabilis
Proteus mirabilis Swarm Colony Development