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Bergey's Manual -- A Guide on How to Use: Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology

This guide provides students with a overview of how to use the Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology and the Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology

Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, 2nd edition

The goal of the manual is to assist in the classification and cultural characteristics of prokaryotes.  The second edition consists of five volumes and is organized by newer (molecular-based) classification systems.

Volume 1:  Archaea, deeply branching and phototropic bacteria (few human diseases), issued in 2001.

  • Note:  Check Table 2:  Phenotypic Grouping of the Prokaryotic Phyla in the “Road Map” on pages 142-155; it will tell you in which volume you can find information on the genus of the bacterium, in addition to information on the phylum, class, and group.

Volume 2:  Proteobacteria, issues in 2005-considered one volume but three separate books:

  • Part 1, pp. 1-304: introductory essays.
  • Part 2, pp. 305-1106: Gamma proteobacteria
  • Part 3, pp. 1107-1388: Alpha-, Beta-, Delta-, and Epsilon, Proteobacteria

Volume 3:  Firmicutes

Volume 4:  A variety of other bacteria

Volume 5:  Actinobacteria

 

Roadmaps for volumes 3-5 are available at the Bergey’s Trust site, under Taxonomic Outlines.

How to Use the Manual

  1. Search Table 2 of the “Road Map” (pp. 142-155) and check to see if the genus of the bacterium is listed.
  2.  If so, see in which volume the information about the bacterium is found.
  3. Then go to the “Index of Scientific names of Archea and Bacteria” at the back of that volume and go to the bolded page number.

Examples:  STREPTOCOCCACEAE, 6, 464, 655,  711

OR

  1. Determine the phylogenetic tree for the bacterium of interest.
  2. Go to the “Contents” pages at the beginning of the volume and look for “Class, Order, Family.”
  3. Under each Family is a list of the Genera that belong to the Family of the bacterium of interest.
  4. It is important to read the material that appears under both the genus and the species.  Information about the genus does not usually repeat on the species description.

Example: PhylumXIII. Firmicutes............................................................19
                              Class II. "Clostridia"..................................................736
                                       Order I. Clostridiales.........................................736
                                                Family I. Clostridiaceae............................736
                                                               Genus I. Clostridium..................738
                                                               Genus II. Alkaliphilus.................828
                                                               Genus III. Anaerobacter.............830

                                                                                        Etc.

Where to Find More "How to Use" Information

Bergey’s manual has a section entitled “On Using the Manual,” located at the beginning of each volume.

Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, 1st edition (hardbound, 4 volumes)

The goal of the manual is to assist in the classification and cultural characteristics of prokaryotes. 

How to Use the Manual

The master index in volume 4 indexes all volumes and is the one most recommended to use.  The indexes in volume 1, 2, and 3 are only for species actually in those volumes.  In the index, the page (pages) specifically devoted to a certain genus or species are in bold-face print.  Pages not in bold type may only refer to a genus or species in a list or footnote, or by comparison.

Bacterial are mostly in the same order as the 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 general name (e.g., Escherichia), with genus description first and then separate listings for each species, alphabetically.

  • By specific epithet.  But be careful:  for example, all species with the 2nd name “coli” are listed:

    • 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 – again 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 1: Spirochetes (Borrelia, Treponema), Gram-negative bacteria, Rickettsias and Chlamydias, and Mycoplasmas, pp. 1-964.

Volume 2: Firmicutes (Gram-positive bacteria), pp. 965-1600.

Volume 3: variety of bacteria, including photosynthetic species, nitrifying bacteria, budding bacteria, and archaea, pp. 1601-2298. Few of these cause human disease (none on the handout for Bergey’s project).

Volume 4: Actinobacteria (formerly actinomycetes), pp. 2299-2648. Some species of medical interest as producers of antibiotics; only significant disease organism is Nocardia (updated from section 17 in volume 2).

Where to Find More "How to Use" Information

Bergey’s manual has a section entitled “On Using the Manual,” located at the beginning of each volume.