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Serratia marcescens, a typical species, on XLD agar.[4]
Scientific classification e
Domain: Bacteria
Phylum: Pseudomonadota
Class: Gammaproteobacteria
Order: Enterobacterales
Family: Yersiniaceae
Genus: Serratia
Bizio, 1823[1][2]

S. aquatilis[3]
S. entomophila
S. ficaria
S. fonticola
S. glossinae[3]
S. grimesii
S. liquefaciens
S. marcescens
S. myotis[3]
S. nematodiphila
S. odorifera
S. plymuthica
S. proteamaculans
S. quinivorans
S. rubidaea
S. symbiotica
S. ureilytica[3]
S. vespertilionis[3]

Serratiagenus of Gram-negative anaerobic rod-shaped bacteria, some species of which produce a red pigment, prodigiosin. Members of Serratia were initially considered harmless,[5] however, they cause infections in animals, plants, humans, and insects.[6] The diseases include pneumonia, meningitis, endocarditis, and wound infections. The most common species – Serratia marcescens, was found to be highly pathogenic to humans and animals. S. marcescens is included in hospital-acquired infections; found in urinary, respiratory, and gastrointestinal tracts. They cause disease mainly in individuals with weak immune system. Other species cause bone and cardiovascular system infections.[7]

Habitat[change | change source]

Serratia genus occupies wide range of habitats, including water, both seawater and drinking water;[7] plants, such as vegetables, mushrooms, grasses, mosses; and insects: healthy, diseased and dead.

History[change | change source]

The discovery of Serratia genus began with Serratia marcescens species colonised food in 1819. In the city of Padula, Italy, cornmeal dish, called polenta, of many people turned red. This phenomenon was called “bloody polenta” and was believed to have a diabolical origin. The investigation began, and Pietro Melo wrote a paper where he stated that it was spontaneous fermentation. For four years Bartolomeo Bizio, a Venetian pharmacist observed small red spots which got larger and subsequently merged into a red mass. Later, in 1823, he published a paper where he stated that the organism was a fungus and named him Serratia marcescens (after a Florentine physicist Serafino Serrati).[6]

Transmission and treatment[change | change source]

Transmission occurs hand-to-hand, through hospital equipment, such as catheters, and also sinks, blood products and antiseptics.  

S. marcescens species are increasingly resistant to antibiotics, they rapidly acquire resistant genes, which makes the infections difficult to treat.[8] Gentamicin is the common antibiotic that was used to treat S. marcescens infections, however, bacteria became resistant to it.[9] S. marcescens has the ability to produce beta-lactamase,[9] which is the enzyme providing bacteria resistance to beta lactam antibiotics, such as penicillin. Now the treatment is more effective in a combination of different antibiotics5.  

References[change | change source]

  1. Bizio (B.): Lettera di Bartolomeo Bizio al chiarissimo canonico Angelo Bellani sopra il fenomeno della polenta porporina. Biblioteca Italiana o sia Giornale di Letteratura, Scienze e Arti (Anno VIII), 1823, 30, 275-295. link.
  2. "Serratia". In: List of Prokaryotic Names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN). Created by J.P. Euzéby in 1997. Curated by A.C. Parte since 2013. Available on: Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 LPSN
  4. Images courtesy of CDC Accessed 7 July 2011.
  5. "Serratia marcescens - Infectious Disease and Antimicrobial Agents". Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mahlen, Steven D. (October 2011). "Serratia Infections: from Military Experiments to Current Practice". Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 24 (4): 755–791. doi:10.1128/CMR.00017-11. ISSN 0893-8512. PMC 3194826. PMID 21976608.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kämpfer, Peter; Glaeser, Stefanie P.YR 2016 (2016). "Serratia aquatilis sp. nov., isolated from drinking water systems". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 66 (1): 407–413. doi:10.1099/ijsem.0.000731. ISSN 1466-5034. PMID 26537514.
  8. Simsek, M. (January 2019). "Determination of the antibiotic resistance rates of Serratia marcescens isolates obtained from various clinical specimens". Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice. 22 (1): 125–130. doi:10.4103/njcp.njcp_362_18. ISSN 1119-3077. PMID 30666031.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Khanna, Ashish; Khanna, Menka; Aggarwal, Aruna (2013). "Serratia Marcescens- A Rare Opportunistic Nosocomial Pathogen and Measures to Limit its Spread in Hospitalized Patients". Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. JCDR. 7 (2): 243–246. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2013/5010.2737. PMC 3592283. PMID 23543704.