Microbial Ecology

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 1–6 | Cite as

The Curious Case of Achromobacter eurydice, a Gram-Variable Pleomorphic Bacterium Associated with European Foulbrood Disease in Honeybees

  • Silvio ErlerEmail author
  • Oleg Lewkowski
  • Anja Poehlein
  • Eva Forsgren


Honeybees are prone to parasite and pathogen infestations/infections due to their social colony life. Bacterial pathogens in particular lead to destructive infections of the brood. European foulbrood is caused by the bacterium Melissococcus plutonius in combination with several other Gram-positive bacteria (Achromobacter eurydice, Bacillus pumilus, Brevibacillus laterosporus, Enterococcus faecalis, Paenibacillus alvei, Paenibacillus dendritiformis) involved as secondary invaders following the initial infection. More than a century ago, A. eurydice was discovered to be associated with European foulbrood and morphologically and biochemically characterized. However, since the 1950s–1960s, only a few studies are known covering the biological relevance of this bacterium. Here, we review the biology, ecology, morphology, and biochemistry and discuss the still unclear systematic classification of A. eurydice.


Host-parasite interaction Apis mellifera Lactobacillus kunkeei Fructobacillus fructosus Foulbrood Brood disease 



Financial support was granted by the German Research Foundation -DFG (ER 786/1-1 to S.E.). Further, we thank Bristol-Myers Squibb and G. E. Budge for sharing information on the origin of the bacteria used in their studies, and COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes) for fostering international collaboration between honeybee researchers.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Biologie, Molekulare ÖkologieMartin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany
  2. 2.Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Department of Genomic and Applied Microbiology and Göttingen Genomics LaboratoryGeorg-August University GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of EcologySwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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