The enterococci have been characterized by morphological features, several cultural properties, and the source of isolation. With the knowledge currently available, it is possible to devise a useful classification scheme that enables identification of most important pathogens in this group of bacteria. Enterococci differ in a number of morphological, antigenic, and physiological characters from the rest of the cocci belonging to the genus Streptococcus. This fact has been a strong argument in favor of establishing a new genus for the enterococci. Micro-organisms classified as enterococci are spherical, slightly elongates along the axis of adherent cells. Enterococci grow rapidly in the temperature range from 10°C up to over 40°C, some species even growing at 50°C. They are heat tolerant to 60°C for 30 minutes. The classification of enterococci is based on the source of isolation, and morphological, physiological, and biochemical characters. © 1978 Academic Press Inc. (London) Ltd.
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