These bacteria are irregular, non-sporing rods. Although this group of bacteria are generally rod-shaped, their shape can vary (pleomorphic). Some resemble a club while others are long, threadlike cylinders. There are three genera within this section. These are:
• Corynebacteria. Corynebacteria are club-shaped and receive nutrients from dead or decaying organic material (saprophytes). Corynebacteria inhabit airy soil and water and cause diphtheria. Corynebacteria diphtheriae is the organism which causes diphtheria.
• Propionibacterium. Propionibacterium infects wounds and causes abscesses. An example would be Propionibacterium acnes.
• Actinomycetales. Actinomycetales is a long, threadlike cylinder (filament) that inhibits soil and some provide nitrogen to plants. The species Actinomycetale israelii, which causes actinomycosis, which destroys tissues in the jaw, head, neck, and lungs. Actinomycetales was originally classified as a fungus because of its shape.
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