Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology and Determinative Bacteriology


Bergey’s manual of determinative bacteriology is a classic and comprehensive reference book that provides a systematic and detailed description of the different groups of bacteria. It is widely used by microbiologists, biologists, medical professionals, and students to identify and classify unknown bacterial isolates based on their phenotypic characteristics, such as morphology, staining, biochemical reactions, oxygen requirements, and motility.

The manual was first published in 1923 by David Hendricks Bergey, an American bacteriologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the editor-in-chief of the first four editions of the manual, which were published between 1923 and 1948. The manual was named after him in recognition of his contributions to the field of bacteriology.

The manual has undergone several revisions and updates since its first publication. The most recent edition is the ninth edition, which was published in 1994 and reprinted in 2000. The ninth edition consists of one volume that covers 35 groups of bacteria, divided into four major categories based on their cell wall composition: Gracilicutes (gram-negative bacteria), Firmicutes (gram-positive bacteria other than actinomycetes), Tenericutes (bacteria lacking cell wall other than actinomycetes), and Mendosicutes (bacteria lacking peptidoglycan in their cell wall like archaea).

The manual does not follow a phylogenetic approach to classify bacteria, but rather a phenetic approach that relies on observable traits. The manual does not attempt to reflect the evolutionary relationships among bacteria, but rather to provide practical schemes for identification. The manual also does not include all the known bacterial species, but only those that are of practical importance or interest in medicine, industry, agriculture, or ecology.

The manual is organized into parts, sections, genera, families, and orders. Each part corresponds to one of the four major categories of bacteria. Each section corresponds to a group of bacteria that share some common features. Each genus corresponds to a group of closely related species that have similar characteristics. Some genera are grouped into families or orders based on their phylogenetic or taxonomic affinities.

The manual provides a brief introduction to each part and section, followed by a key for identification. The key consists of a series of dichotomous questions that lead to the identification of a genus or a family. The key is based on simple tests that can be performed in the laboratory using standard methods and equipment. The key also provides references to other sources of information for further identification.

The manual also provides a description of each genus or family, including its morphology, physiology, ecology, distribution, pathogenicity, and significance. The description also includes representative species and their characteristics. The description is accompanied by illustrations or photographs that show the typical appearance of the cells or colonies.

The manual is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the diversity and classification of bacteria. It is also a useful tool for anyone who needs to identify unknown bacterial cultures in various settings. However, the manual is not intended to be a definitive authority on bacterial taxonomy or nomenclature. The manual reflects the state of knowledge at the time of its publication and may not include some recent discoveries or changes in bacterial classification. Therefore, users should consult other sources of information for confirmation or clarification when necessary.