Definitions for magnetospirillum

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  1. Magnetospirillum

    Magnetospirillum is a Gram-negative, microaerophilic genus of magnetotactic bacterium, first isolated from pond water by the microbiologist R. P. Blakemore in 1975. It is characterized by a spirillar, or helical, morphology. It is also a motile bacterium owing to the presence of a polar flagellum at each end. Four species have been described: Magnetospirillum magnetotacticum strain MS-1 Magnetospirillum magneticum strain AMB-1; Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense; and Magnetospirillum bellicus. The typical habitat of Magnetospirillum consists of shallow fresh water and sediments, characterized by low concentrations of oxygen for growth where it lives in the upper portion of the sediment. It prefers an oxygen gradient of approximately 1-3%. Probably the most peculiar characteristic of Magnetospirillum is its capacity to orient itself according to Earth's magnetic field, an ability which has been named magnetotaxis. This is achieved through the presence into the bacterium's cytoplasm of special organelles called magnetosomes. Magnetospirillum also resorts to aerotaxis, in order to remain in favourable O2 concentration conditions. When the bacteria ingest iron, proteins inside their bodies interact with it to produce tiny crystals of the mineral magnetite, the most magnetic mineral on Earth.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Magnetospirillum

    A genus of microaerophilic, gram-negative bacteria that forms crystals of the mineral magnetite in special organelles called MAGNETOSOMES.

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