Bordetella pertussis
Cultural characteristics
Biochemical characters
Phylum Proteobacteria, Class Betaproteobacteria, Order Burkholderiales, Family Alcaligenaceae, Genus Bordetella, Bordetella
(Bergey, Harrison, Breed, Hammer and Huntoon 1923) Moreno-Lopez 1952, type species of the genus.

Old synonyms: "Microbe de la coqueluche" Bordet and Gengou 1906,
Hemophilus pertussis Bergey et al. 1923, Bacterium
Lehmann and Neumann 1927, Haemophilus pertussis (Bergey et al. 1923) Pribram 1933.
Gram-negative, minute coccobacilli, 0.2-0.5 x 0.5-10 μm. Nonmotile. Encapsulated or
surrounded by a slime sheath composed of extruded filaments or secreted blebs.
Colonies are minute in size, gray and are surrounded by a zone of hemolysis on
media containing about 20% blood. It takes up to 7 days to develop. Potato-glycerol-
blood agar (Bordet–Gengou) has been preferred for primary isolation. Some labs use
Regan-Lowe charcoal agar. Cephalexin can be added at 40 μg/ml to inhibit the
growth of other respiratory flora. Aerobic. Slow rate of growth (they double only once
every 4 hours).  Unable to grow at ambient temperatures much less than 37 ºC. No
growth at 25 or 42 ºC. No growth on Blood agar, MacConkey agar or Simmons citrate
agar. Pigment is not produced. Litmus milk: alkaline in 12 to 14 days, after adaptation.
Found only in human respiratory tract. It is spread by coughing and has no environmental reservoir other than infected humans.
Sensitive to fatty acids, and Dacron swabs, rather than cotton, are used to transfer the bacteria.
Resistant to penicillin and cephalosporin.
It is the cause of whooping cough in humans. Produce adhesins and toxins, particularly the pertussis toxin.
Shows cross agglutination with
Bordetella parapertussis and B. bronchiseptica.
B. pertussis antitoxin neutralizes toxin of B. parapertussis and of B. bronchiseptica.
  1. Alison Weiss: The Genus Bordetella in: The Prokaryotes. A Handbook on the Biology of Bacteria, Third Edition, Volume 5:
    Proteobacteria: Alpha and Beta Subclasses, Martin Dworkin (Editor-in-Chief), 2006, Chapter 3.2.3, 648-674.
  2. Gary N. Sanden and Robbin S. Weyant: Genus III. Bordetella Moreno-Lopez 1952, 178AL in: Bergey's Manual of Systematic
    Bacteriology, vol. 2, part C: The Alpha-, Beta-, Delta-, and Epsilonproteobacteria, George M. Garrity (Editor-in-Chief), 2005, 662-671.
  3. Margaret Pittman: Bordetella in: Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, seventh edition, Robert S. Breed, E.G.D. Murray,
    Nathan R. Smith, 1957, 402-403.
  4. BacDive - the Bacterial Diversity Metadatabase. Sohngen C., Bunk B., Podstawka A., Gleim D., Vetcininova A., Reimer L.C.,
    Overmann J. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv983. Epub 2015 Sep 30. PMID:  26424852.
  5. Von Wintzingerode (F.), Schattke (A.), Siddiqui (R.A.), Rosick (U.), Gobel (U.B.) and Gross (R.): Bordetella petrii sp. nov., isolated
    from an anaerobic bioreactor, and emended description of the genus Bordetella. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., 2001, 51, 1257-1265.
Positive results for arginine arylamidase, catalase, chymotrypsin activity, cystine arylamidase, ester C8 lipase, glutamyl glutamic acid
arylamidase, naphthol-AS-B1-phosphohydrolase, leucyl glycine arylamidase, oxidase, serine arylamidase & tyrosine arylamidase.
Can utilize: L-histidine, L-serine & valeric acid.

Negative results for alkaline phosphatase, H
2S production, indole production, lysine decarboxylase, ornithin decarboxylase, lipase C14
activity, nitrate reduction, denitrification, phenylalanine arylamidase, trypsin activity, urease, valine arylamidase, acid production from
fructose, glucose, maltose & sucrose.
Negative for the utilization of: L-alanine, malonate, D-glucose, D-xylose, trehalose, D-gluconate, D-mannitol, mannose, lactose,
sucrose, maltose, N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, caprate, adipate, L-malate, phenylacetate, esculin, glycogen, inositol, sorbitol,
5-ketogluconate, itaconic acid, lactic acid, propionic acid & valine.
(c) Costin Stoica
Culture media
Biochemical tests
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