Cultural characteristics
Biochemical characters
Phylum Firmicutes, Class Erysipelotrichia, Order Erysipelothrichales, Family Erysipelotrichaceae, Genus Erysipelothrix, Erysipelothrix
Takahashi, Fujisawa, Benno, Tamura, Sawada, Suzuki, Muramatsu and Mitsuoka 1987.

Historical synonyms:
Erysipelothrix tonsillae Takahashi et al. 1989. Includes strains from Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae serovars 3, 7,
10, 14, 20, 22, 23.
Gram-positive (decolorize easy), straight or slightly curved, slender rods, 0.3 x 1.0-1.5 µm, with a tendency to form long filaments (up to
60 µm); occur singly, in short chains, in pairs at an angle to give V-forms, or in groups with no particular arrangement. Nonspore-
forming. Nonmotile. Noncapsulated.
Surface colonies on BI agar are small (punctiform-1.0 mm in diameter in 48 hours),
convex, transparent, colorless and soft. Characteristic “pipe cleaner” type of growth in
gelatine stab cultures incubated at 22 ºC. Growth in nutrient agar is improved by the
addition of glucose (0.2-0.5% w/v) or serum (5-10% v/v); grows well in blood and
chocolate agar in 5-10% CO2 . Organic growth factors are required (several amino
acids, riboflavin), tryptophan enhanced growth and oleic acid is also required. Alpha-
hemolitic. Beta-hemolysis is not produced. Grow at/on: pH 6.7-9.2 (optimum pH 7.2-
7.6). Temperature range 5-42 ºC (optimum 30-37 ºC). No growth in 8.5% NaCl
medium. Facultatively anaerobic.
Isolated from tonsils of apparently healthy pigs.
Heat and direct sunlight diminish its viability. A low temperature, alkaline conditions, and organic matter favor its survival.
Survive in the dried state for many years.
It does not survive heating at 60ºC for 15 minutes.
Resistant to sulphonamides, colistin, gentamicin, kanamycin, neomycin, novobiocin and polymyxin. Sensitive to ampicillin ,
erythromycin, penicillin & tethracycline.
Grow in the presence of phenol (0.2% w/v), potassium tellurite (0.05% w/v), sodium azide (0.1% w/v), thallous acetate (0.02% w/v),
2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (0.2% w/v), and crystal violet (0.001% w/v).
Most strains are not pathogenic for swine or mice. Some strains may be canine pathogen.
  1. Stackebrandt E., 2009. Genus I. Erysipelothrix Rosenbach 1909. In: (Eds.) P.D. Vos, G. Garrity, D. Jones, N.R. Krieg, W. Ludwig, F.
    A. Rainey, K.-H. Schleifer, W.B. Whitman. Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Volume 3: The Firmicutes, Springer, 1299-
  2. Schlech W.F., 2005. Erysipelothrix. In: Topley & Wilson’s Microbiology & Microbial Infections, 10th Edition, Edited by Borriello S.P.,
    Murray P.R. and Funke G., Bacteriology, volume 2, 970-976.
  3. Takahashi T., Fujisawa T., Benno Y., Tamura Y., Sawada T., Suzuki S., Muramatsu M. and Mitsuoka T.,1987. Erysipelothrix
    tonsillarum sp. nov. isolated from tonsils of apparently healthy pigs. IJSB Vol. 37, No. 2, 166-168.
Positive results for alkaline phosphatase, H2S production in TSI, acid production from:
N-acetylglucosamine, dextrin, galactose,  glucose, lactose (negative in Api 32 Strept),
maltose (negative in Api 32 Strept), mannose (weak) & sucrose (weak).
Can utilize: N-acetyl-D-mannosamine, L-arabinose (weak), D-fructose & D-galactose.

Negative results for aminopeptidase, casein hydrolysis,catalase, DNA-ase, esculin hydrolysis, gelatin hydrolysis, hippurate
hydrolysis, indole production, methyl-red, nitrates reduced to nitrites, oxidase, starch hydrolysis, urea hydrolysis ,Voges-Proskauer,
acid production from: arabinose, dulcitol, glycerol, inositol, mannitol, melezitose, melibiose, rhamnose, raffinose, sorbitol, tagatose,  
trehalose & xylose. No utilization of: arbutin, cellobiose, gentiobiose, glycerol, salicin & D-trehalose.

Variable results for acid production from salicin.
Erysipelothrix tonsillarum
(c) Costin Stoica
Culture media
Biochemical tests
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