Serratia marcescens

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A gram-negative motile and non-endospore forming rod bacterium associated with hospital acquired infections including wound infections, catheter-associated infections and urinary tract infections.


Serratia marcescens can be able to grow in temperature ranging from 4-40’C with a pH of about 5-9 which is distinct from other gram-negative bacteria due to its ability to carry out casein hydrolysis that allows to produce extracellular metalloproteinase. It also demonstrates citrate and tryptophan degradation producing pyruvic acid that is needed into different metabolic processes.

Serratia marcescens found normally in subgingival biofilm of teeth and in dirt places that produces prodigiosin, a reddish-orange tripyrrole pigment which cause staining of the teeth. It also cause infections in various body parts including respiratory tract, urinary tract, eyes and wounds as well as where it cause keratitis, endophthalmitis, conjunctivitis and tear duct infections.

Serratia marcescens is normally found in urinary and respiratory tracts of hospitalized individuals where it is apparent as a pink or orange discoloration with slimy film feeding off phosphorus containing materials like soap and shampoo deposits. It also used as biological markers of infections and is linked with primary invasive infection.

Scientific classification:

Kingdom: Bacteria

Phylum: Proteobacteria

Class: Gamma Proteobacteria

Order: Enterobacteriales

Family: Enterobacteriaceae

Genus: Serratia

Species: Serratia marcescens

See also:

• Bacteria

• Nosocomial infections