In science, every living thing including microorganisms like bacteria is known by specific names exactly like us. There are specific rules to name a bacteria; these rules are maintained by International Committee on Systematic Bacteriology and controlled by International code of Nomenclature of Bacteria. As soon as new/unknown bacterium is discovered, it is given a scientific name; similarly we name our new born baby! The science of naming and categorizing is known as Taxonomy and the system of application of a particular name is called as Nomenclature. According to International Committee, Binomial Nomenclature (This method was developed by the Scientist Linnaeus) is given to bacteria. The word binomial itself indicates consisting of 2 names: the Genus and the Species (Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The scientific name is referred by all scientists in the world that is the particular bacterium is recognized by its special name and not by common/local name. The common names are not used as they vary country wise and may lead to confusion.
It is mandatory to classify bacteria before naming them. The classification is to place the bacterial strain to be named into the group of strains resembling the characteristics like shape (Cocci, Bacilli, Vibrio and Spirilla), clustering pattern (Diploid, Tetrads, Staphylo and Strepto), morphological characters like motility, gram staining, capsulated, pigmentation and mucoid appearance. Besides, advanced testing regarding DNA-DNA hybridization, DNA base composition (Adenine: Thymine /Guanine: Cytosine ratio) and genotypic characters like antibiotic resistance/susceptibility, presence of catabolic plasmids etc are determined.
The rules of nomenclature are very simple to follow; such as the names are usually derived from Latin/Greek words; the species name is always comes after the genus; genus and species names should be italicized (Bacillus subtilis) or underlined (Bacillus subtilis) if handwritten; the genus always have capital initial while species never has capital initial letter and binomial name is always written in parentheses if to be used along with common name like pseudomonads (Pseudomonas). If the species name is not available, then sp. is written after the genus (Streptococcus sp.). If one is going to describe multiple species from the same genus then spp. is written after the genus (Streptococcus spp.). There are also standard short forms for the genera to avoid redundancy. For example, Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be written as P. aeruginosa.
The species are named according to their occurrence, its role, its pathogenicity, special characteristics, country name of the inventor or name of the inventor or to honor the scientist who has done mighty research work regarding that particular genus or species.
• Escherichia coli: Escherichia (straight rod) coli (from colon)
• Vibrio cholera: Vibrio (comma shaped) cholera (causative agent of cholera)
• Acetobacter indonesiensis: Acetobacter (use acetate as carbon source) indonesiensis (Indonesia)
• Anaerobacter polyendosporous: Anaerobacter (grows anaerobically: oxygen free) polyendosporous (many endospores forming)
• Beijerinckia mobilis: Beijerinckia (Scientist Beijerinck) mobilis (motile)
• Psychrobacter faecalis: Psychrobacter (Cold loving) faecalis (from faeces)
• Xanthomonas cucurbitae: Xanthomonas (Xanthine, a yellow pigment producer) cucurbitae (infect plants from family cucurbitaceae)
• Streptococcus pneumoniae: Streptococcus (cocci in straight chain) pneumoniae (causative agent of pneumonia)
• Methanosarcina thermophila: Methanosarcina (Methane producing bacterial cells arranged as tetrads) thermophila (high temperature loving)
• Lactobacillus lactis: Lactobacillus (bacillus from milk) lactis (milk sugar-lactose fermenting)
The binomial names of some bacteria illustrated in above examples can give you the complete understanding of bacterial nomenclature.
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