The Prokaryotes pp 3256-3275 | Cite as

The Genus Lysobacter

  • Hans Reichenbach


The species classified in the genus Lysobacter are Gram-negative rods that move by gliding. The cells are slender and cylindrical, with rounded ends (Figs. 1 and 2). They typically measure 0.4−0.6 × 2−5 μm, but in the population there are also always long to very long (up to 70 μm) cells and filaments. The cell shape and the occurrence of long cells are both very characteristic for the genus. Lysobacter cells resemble the vegetative cells of certain myxobacteria, specifically of the genera Polyangium and Sorangium, with which the lysobacters were confused for many years. They also share with the myxobacteria a high GC content of their DNA of 65 to 70 mol%. Due to the gliding movements of the cells, the colonies of Lysobacter are spreading or swarming on solid media and may become very large and extremely thin (Figs. 3 and 4). Sometimes the organisms produce copious amounts of slime, and the colonies then become thick and deliquescent, but colonies with a wrinkled and dry surface also occur. Lysobacter colonies may be white or cream-colored but often they are greenish-yellow, purplish-red, or brown, although their color is often rather pale. Some strains produce an unpleasant odor reminiscent of certain pseudomonads or of pyridine. In agitated liquid cultures, the lysobacters grow as homogeneous cell suspensions, but, as with all gliding bacteria, the suspended cells are unable to translocate. The Lysobacter species live in soil, decaying organic matter, and fresh water, sometimes in large populations. Many strains are of considerable ecological and biotechnological interest as producers of exoenzymes and of antibiotics.


Lytic Enzyme Yeast Agar Homogeneous Cell Suspension Lytic Bacterium Lysobacter Species 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

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  • Hans Reichenbach

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