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Biochemical Test of Yersinia pestis

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What is Yersinia pestis?

Yersinia pestis is a bacterium responsible for causing the disease known as the plague. This disease has various forms, including bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic plague. Historically, Yersinia pestis was the causative agent behind several major pandemics, including the Black Death in the 14th century, which resulted in the deaths of a significant portion of Europe’s population. The primary mode of transmission of the plague to humans is through the bite of infected fleas, which primarily live on rodents. If detected early, the disease is treatable with antibiotics. However, if left untreated, it can be fatal.

Biochemical Test of Yersinia pestis

Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of the plague, exhibits a range of biochemical characteristics that can be used for its identification and differentiation from other bacteria. Here are the key biochemical properties of Yersinia pestis:

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  1. Capsule: Yersinia pestis possesses a capsule, making it capsule-positive (+ve).
  2. Catalase Test: The bacterium tests positive (+ve) for catalase enzyme activity.
  3. Citrate Utilization: It does not utilize citrate, resulting in a negative (-ve) citrate test.
  4. Flagella: The bacterium is non-flagellated, indicating it does not have flagella.
  5. Gas Production: It does not produce gas, as indicated by a negative (-ve) result.
  6. Gelatin Hydrolysis: Yersinia pestis is unable to hydrolyze gelatin, showing a negative (-ve) result.
  7. Gram Staining: The bacterium is Gram-negative (-ve).
  8. Growth in KCN: It does not grow in potassium cyanide (KCN) medium, resulting in a negative (-ve) outcome.
  9. H2S Production: The bacterium does not produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S), showing a negative (-ve) result.
  10. Hemolysis: It does not exhibit hemolytic activity, resulting in a negative (-ve) hemolysis test.
  11. Indole Production: Yersinia pestis does not produce indole, indicating a negative (-ve) result.
  12. Motility: The bacterium is non-motile.
  13. Methyl Red (MR) Test: It tests positive (+ve) for the MR test, indicating mixed acid fermentation.
  14. Nitrate Reduction: The bacterium can reduce nitrate, showing a positive (+ve) result.
  15. Oxidative-Fermentative (OF) Test: Yersinia pestis is a facultative anaerobe.
  16. Oxidase Test: The bacterium tests negative (-ve) for oxidase enzyme activity.
  17. Pigment Production: It does not produce any pigment, resulting in a negative (-ve) outcome.
  18. Shape: The bacterium has a rod-shaped morphology.
  19. Spore Formation: Yersinia pestis does not form spores, indicating a negative (-ve) result.
  20. Urease Activity: The bacterium does not produce urease enzyme, showing a negative (-ve) result.
  21. Voges-Proskauer (VP) Test: It tests negative (-ve) for the VP test, indicating it does not produce acetoin.

These biochemical properties provide a comprehensive profile of Yersinia pestis and are crucial for its identification in clinical and research settings.

Fermentation Tests of Yersinia pestis

Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for causing the plague, can be identified and differentiated based on its ability to ferment various carbohydrates. Here are the fermentation test results for Yersinia pestis:

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  1. Adonitol: The bacterium does not ferment adonitol, resulting in a negative (-ve) outcome.
  2. Arabinose: Yersinia pestis ferments arabinose, showing a positive (+ve) result.
  3. Cellobiose: The bacterium can ferment cellobiose, indicating a positive (+ve) result.
  4. DNase: It does not produce DNase enzyme, resulting in a negative (-ve) outcome.
  5. Dulcitol: The bacterium does not ferment dulcitol, showing a negative (-ve) result.
  6. Glucose: Yersinia pestis ferments glucose, resulting in a positive (+ve) outcome.
  7. Glycerol: The fermentation of glycerol by the bacterium is variable, meaning it can vary between strains or under different conditions.
  8. Lactose: It does not ferment lactose, indicating a negative (-ve) result.
  9. Malonate: The bacterium does not utilize malonate, showing a negative (-ve) outcome.
  10. Maltose: Yersinia pestis ferments maltose, resulting in a positive (+ve) result.
  11. Mannitol: The bacterium can ferment mannitol, indicating a positive (+ve) outcome.
  12. Mannose: It ferments mannose, showing a positive (+ve) result.
  13. Melibiose: The fermentation of melibiose by the bacterium is variable.
  14. Mucate: The bacterium does not ferment mucate, resulting in a negative (-ve) outcome.
  15. MyoInositol: It does not ferment myo-inositol, showing a negative (-ve) result.
  16. Raffinose: The bacterium does not ferment raffinose, indicating a negative (-ve) result.
  17. Rhamnose: It does not ferment rhamnose, resulting in a negative (-ve) outcome.
  18. Salicin: The fermentation of salicin by the bacterium is variable.
  19. Sorbitol: The ability of the bacterium to ferment sorbitol is variable.
  20. Sorbose: Yersinia pestis does not ferment sorbose, showing a negative (-ve) result.
  21. Sucrose: The bacterium does not ferment sucrose, indicating a negative (-ve) outcome.
  22. Tartrate: It does not ferment tartrate, resulting in a negative (-ve) result.
  23. Trehalose: Yersinia pestis ferments trehalose, showing a positive (+ve) outcome.
  24. Xylose: The bacterium can ferment xylose, indicating a positive (+ve) result.

These fermentation tests provide valuable insights into the metabolic capabilities of Yersinia pestis and are essential for its identification and differentiation in microbiological studies.

Enzymatic Reactions of Yersinia pestis

Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of the plague, exhibits specific enzymatic reactions that can be used for its identification and differentiation from other bacteria. Here are the enzymatic reactions of Yersinia pestis:

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  1. Acetate Utilization: Yersinia pestis does not utilize acetate, resulting in a negative (-ve) reaction.
  2. Aesculine Hydrolysis: The bacterium can hydrolyze aesculine, indicating a positive (+ve) reaction.
  3. Arginine Dehydrolase: It does not possess the enzyme arginine dehydrolase, showing a negative (-ve) reaction.
  4. Lipase: Yersinia pestis does not produce the enzyme lipase, resulting in a negative (-ve) outcome.
  5. Lysine: The bacterium does not metabolize lysine, indicating a negative (-ve) reaction.
  6. ONPG (β-galactosidase): Yersinia pestis produces the enzyme β-galactosidase, which can hydrolyze ONPG, showing a positive (+ve) result.
  7. Ornithine Decarboxylase: It does not possess the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase, resulting in a negative (-ve) outcome.
  8. Phenylalanine Deaminase: The bacterium does not produce the enzyme phenylalanine deaminase, indicating a negative (-ve) reaction.

These enzymatic reactions offer a comprehensive understanding of the metabolic and enzymatic capabilities of Yersinia pestis. Such reactions are crucial for its identification in microbiological laboratories and provide insights into its physiology and pathogenicity.

Test/ReactionResult
Basic Characteristics
CapsulePositive (+ve)
CatalasePositive (+ve)
CitrateNegative (-ve)
FlagellaNon-Flagellated
Gram StainingNegative (-ve)
ShapeRods
UreaseNegative (-ve)
Fermentation Tests
GlucosePositive (+ve)
LactoseNegative (-ve)
MaltosePositive (+ve)
MannitolPositive (+ve)
SucroseNegative (-ve)
TrehalosePositive (+ve)
XylosePositive (+ve)
Enzymatic Reactions
Acetate UtilizationNegative (-ve)
Aesculine HydrolysisPositive (+ve)
Arginine DehydrolaseNegative (-ve)
LipaseNegative (-ve)
ONPG (β-galactosidase)Positive (+ve)
Ornithine DecarboxylaseNegative (-ve)
Phenylalanine DeaminaseNegative (-ve)

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