Magnetotactic Bacteria

  • Stefan Spring
  • Dennis A. Bazylinski
Reference work entry


Magnetotactic bacteria are Gram-negative, motile prokaryotes that synthesize intracellular crystals of magnetic iron oxide or iron sulfide minerals. These apparently membrane-bounded crystals are called magnetosomes (Balkwill et al., 1980) and cause the bacteria to orient and migrate along geomagnetic field lines. Magnetotactic bacteria are indigenous in sediments or stratified water columns where they occur predominantly at the oxic-anoxic transition zone (OATZ) and the anoxic regions of the habitat or both. They represent a diverse group of microorganisms with respect to morphology, physiology and phylogeny. Despite the efforts of a number of different research groups, only a few representatives of this group of bacteria have been isolated in axenic culture since their discovery by (Richard P. Blakemore, 1975), and even fewer have been adequately described in the literature. Therefore, little is known about their metabolic plasticity, whereas their diverse morphology...


Magnetotactic Bacterium Magnetite Crystal Geomagnetic Field Line cbbL Gene Flagellar Rotation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material
Sequence showing magnetotactic spirilla displaying axial magnetotaxis
Sequence showing magnetotactic cocci displaying polar magnetotaxis

Sequence showing the typical “ping-pong” motility of the MMP

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© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Spring
  • Dennis A. Bazylinski

There are no affiliations available

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