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Fusobacteria are obligately anaerobic non-sporeforming Gram-negative bacilli. Since the first reports in the late nineteenth century, various names have been applied to these organisms, sometimes with the same name being applied to different species. More recently, not only have there been changes to the nomenclature, but also attempts to differentiate between species which are believed to be either pathogenic or commensal or both. Because of their asaccharolytic nature, and a general paucity of positive results in routine biochemical tests, laboratory identification of the fusobacteria has been difficult. However, the application of novel molecular biological techniques to taxonomy has established a number of new species, together with the subspeciation of Fusobacterium necrophorum and F. nucleatum, and provided new methods for identification. The involvement of fusobacteria in a wide spectrum of human infections causing tissue necrosis and septicaemia has long been recognised, and, more recently, their importance in intra-amniotic infections, premature labour and tropical ulcers has been reported.

Since the first reports of fusobacteria in the late nineteenth century, the variety of species names has led to some confusion within the genera Fusobacterium and Leptotrichia. However, newer methods of investigation have led to a better understanding of the taxonomy, with the description of several new species of fusobacteria. Among the new species described are F. ulcerans from tropical ulcers, and several species from the oral cavity. Subspeciation of the important species F. necrophorum and F. nucleatum has also been possible. It is probable that the taxonomy of the fusobacteria may be further developed in the future.[2]


The currently accepted taxonomy is based on the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LSPN)[3][4] and the phylogeny is based on 16S rRNA-based LTP release 123 by The All-Species Living Tree Project.[5]


S. hongkongensis Woo et al. 2014

S. moniliformis Levaditi et al. 1925

Sneathia sanguinegens Collins et al. 2002 (type sp.)

Sebaldella termitidis (Sebald 1962) Collins and Shah 1986


L. goodfellowii Eribe et al. 2004

L. hofstadii Eribe et al. 2004

L. buccalis (Robin 1853) Trevisan 1879 (type sp.)

L. wadei Eribe et al. 2004

L. shahii Eribe et al. 2004

L. hongkongensis Woo et al. 2011

L. trevisanii Tee et al. 2002


Psychrilyobacter atlanticus Zhao et al. 2009

Ilyobacter tartaricus Schink 1985

Ilyobacter polytropus Stieb and Schink 1985 (type sp.)

Propionigenium maris Janssen and Liesack 1996 emend. Watson et al. 2000

Ilyobacter insuetus Brune et al. 2002

Propionigenium modestum Schink and Pfennig 1983 (type sp.)


C. ceti Foster et al. 1996 (type sp.)

C. somerae Finegold et al. 2003


F. perfoetens (Tissier 1905) Moore and Holdeman 1973

F. necrogenes (Weinberg et al. 1937) Moore and Holdeman 1970

F. mortiferum (Harris 1901) Moore and Holdeman 1970

Clostridium rectum (Heller 1922) Holdeman and Moore 1972

F. ulcerans Adriaans and Shah 1988

F. varium (Eggerth and Gagnon 1933) Moore and Holdeman 1969

F. gonidiaformans (Tunnicliff and Jackson 1925) Moore and Holdeman 1970

F. equinum Dorsch et al. 2001

F. necrophorum

F. n. funduliforme (ex Hallé 1898) Shinjo et al. 1991

F. n. necrophorum (Flügge 1886) Shinjo et al. 1991

F. russii (Hauduroy et al. 1937) Moore and Holdeman 1970

F. nucleatum polymorphum (ex Knorr 1922) Dzink et al. 1990

F. periodonticum Slots et al. 1984

F. canifelinum Conrads et al. 2004

F. nucleatum fusiforme (ex Veillon and Zuber 1898) Gharbia and Shah 1992

F. nucleatum vincentii Dzink et al. 1990

F. nucleatum nucleatum (Knorr 1922) Dzink et al. 1990 (type sp.)

F. simiae Slots and Potts 1982

F. nucleatum animalis Gharbia and Shah 1992

Filifactor alocis (Cato et al. 1985) Jalava and Eerola 1999

Note 1: Species not used in the All-Species Living Tree Project

Note 2:
? Strain found at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) but not listed in the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN

New evidence is emerging that this bacterium may cause or be related to human colon cancer. In 2011 investigators reported the presence of fusobacteria in colon cancer tissue (Genome Res 2012; 22:292) and a new multicenter study provides evidence that some cases-particularly right-sided might be caused by infection by Fusobacteria.(1)

1. Bullman S et al. Science 2017 Dec 15; 358:1443.

See also


  1. ^ "Fusobacteriales". NCBI taxonomy. Bethesda, MD: National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Bennett, K. W.; Eley, A. (1 October 1993). "Fusobacteria: New taxonomy and related diseases". Journal of Medical Microbiology. 39 (4): 246-254. doi:10.1099/00222615-39-4-246. PMID 8411084.
  3. ^ J.P. Euzéby. "Fusobacteria". List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN). Retrieved .
  4. ^ Sayers; et al. "Fusobacteria". National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) taxonomy database. Retrieved .
  5. ^ See the All-Species Living Tree Project [1]. Data extracted from the "16S rRNA-based LTP release 123 (full tree)" (PDF). Silva Comprehensive Ribosomal RNA Database. Retrieved .

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