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Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology

Welcome to the Bergey's Manual research guide.


  1. Find your organism to learn about the organism itself.
  2. Use the newer 2001 edition first. If you cannot find it there...
  3. ...then go to the 1984 edition.

2001 edition

Purpose: classification, cultural characteristics, disease (not primarily identification).

Organized by newer (molecular-based) classification systems.

Volume contents:

  • Archaea, deeply branching and phototropic bacteria (few human diseases), issued in 2001. *Note: Of special use for “road map” on pages 142-155 (tells which volume and classification each genus of bacteria is in, or in which it is expected to be…).
  • Proteobacteria (most of the gram-negative bacteria), issued in 2005 – considered one volume but actually published as three separate books:
    1. Part 1, pp. 1-304: introductory essays.
    2. Part 2, pp. 305-1106: Gamma-proteobacteria – includes the family Enterobacteriaceae (Enterobacter, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Proteus, Salmonella, Serratia, Shigella, Yersinia); also Haemophilus, Legionella, Pseudomonas, Vibrio.
    3. Part 3, pp. 1107-1388:
      1. Alpha-proteobacteria – Rickettsia.
      2. Beta-proteobacteria – Bordetella, Neisseria.
      3. Delta-proteobacteria – (none on project list).
      4. Epsilon-proteobacteria – Campylobacter, Helicobacter.
  • Firmicutes (low molecular % G-C, Gram-positive bacteria; mollicutes) – Bacillus, Clostridium, Listeria, Mycoplasma, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus.
  • A variety of other bacteria, e.g., many of the remaining Gram-negative species, the spirochetes (Borrelia, Treponema), and Chlamydiae (Chlamydia).
  • Actinobacteria (some high %G+C Gram-positive bacteria, Corynebacterium, Mycobacterium, Nocardia(?); some others are important as antibiotic producers).

1984 edition

Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, 1984 edition, 4 volumes.

Purpose: classification, cultural characteristics, diseases (see Bergey's Determinative for primary identification).

Master index:  Located in volume 4. Indexes in volumes 1, 2, and 3 refer only to species found in those volumes.

The page or pages specifically devoted to a certain genus or species are in bold face print. Pages not in bold may only refer to a genus or species in a list or footnote or by comparison.

Bacteria are mostly in the same order as Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, except that the Tenericutes (Mycoplasmas) have been moved ahead of the Firmicutes, and the Actinobacteria are separated into the last volume.

 Indexes list bacteria in alphabetical order both by...

  • Generic name (e.g., Escherichia) with genus description first and then separate listings for each species, alphabetically.
  • Specific epithet. Note: all species with the 2nd name “coli” are listed in the following manner:
    • Bacillus coli – no longer considered a valid species name; rather this is a former name (“synonym”) of E. coli.
    • Campylobacter coli.
    • Escherichia coli (E. coli).
    • Vibrio coli – no longer a valid species name; a former name of Campylobacter coli.

Thus, looking under Bacillus coli or Vibrio coli will tell you nothing new – you can tell which name is still in valid use by whether or not some of the page numbers are in bold-face print.

Volume contents:

  1. Spirochetes (Borrelia, Treponema), Gram-negative bacteria, Rickettsias and Chlamydias, and Mycoplasmas, pgs. 1-964.
  2. Firmicutes (Gram-positive bacteria), pp. 965-1600.
  3. Variety of bacteria including photosynthetic species, nitrifying bacteria, budding bacteria, and archaea, pgs. 1601-2298. Few of these cause human disease.
  4. Actinobacteria (formerly actinomycetes), pgs. 2299-2648. Some species are of medical interest as producers of antibiotics; only significant disease organism is Nocardia (updated from section 17 in volume 2).

Note: Some bacteria may not appear in any volume. For example, Helicobacter pylori (misspelled as Heliobacter on some copies) is a species that was not known to science until after this edition was published. Thus, you will not be able to find any information on it in the 1984 Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology and will need to consult the 2001 edition.