Staphylococcus aureus and Related Staphylococci

Authored by: Dominique Missiakas , Olaf Schneewind

Practical Handbook of Microbiology

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9781466587397
eBook ISBN: 9781466587403
Adobe ISBN:


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Staphylococcus aureus was first characterized as a human isolate in the late nineteenth century. Sir Alexander Ogston, in his lecture at the Ninth Surgical Congress in Berlin in 1880, reported the presence of “Micrococci” associated with pus in surgical wound infections. Later, Sir Ogston would use the word staphylococci to refer to these particular organisms [154]. He used eggs to isolate pure cultures of staphylococci and showed that rabbits inoculated with these cultures developed abscesses, thereby fulfilling Koch’s postulates for the identification of the etiological agent of suppurative abscesses [154]. S. aureus is a physiological commensalism of the human skin, nares, and mucosal surfaces and bacteriological culture of the nose and skin of healthy humans invariably reveals staphylococci. In 1884, Rosenbach isolated two colony types of staphylococci found on humans and based on their pigmentation proposed the nomenclature S. aureus and Staphylococcus albus for the yellow and white isolates, respectively [181]. The latter species is now named Staphylococcus epidermidis, and until the early 1970s, S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and Staphylococcus saprophyticus were the only three species in the genus Staphylococcus. Genotypic properties and refined taxonomy have led to the distinction of over 40 species during the last four decades [63,68]. This review will describe Staphylococcus species briefly and provide a more detailed account on laboratory manipulation of S. aureus and S. epidermidis.

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