Bacterial Morphology, structure and Staining techniques
THE BACTERIAL CELL
Bacteria cannot be visualized by naked eye. To understand their size, one needs to revisit variousmeasurement units. The unit of measurement used in bacteriology is the micron (µ) or also calledmicrometer (µm). 1 µm = One thousandth of a millimeterA bacterium shall characteristically have a cell envelope which includes a layered cell wall and externalsurface adherents. The appendages of cell wall include flagellae-the organs of locomotion and fimbriaewhich help in adhesion of bacteria. Internally the bacterium has loose arrangement of DNA, i.e. nuclearapparatus surrounded by an amorphous cytoplasm which contains ribosomes. Mesosomes and inclusiongranules are other structures present in bacterium.
Shape and Size of Bacteria
Bacteria can have any of the following three shapes
Cylinderical (bacilli or rods) and
are true spheres with diameter ranging between 0.75 to 1.25 µm (and average of 1 µm).
varyin length from 2-10 times their width.
are very short bacilli.
are long threads of bacilli which have not separated into single cells.
Curved bacterial rods
vary from small, coma shaped ormildly helical shaped organisms with only one curve such as
Vibrio cholerae. Spirochetes
are long andinuously curved bacteria with as many as 20 coils.Apart from the length and width of the bacilli the shape of the ends often shows features that are of differential value. They may be:
Square cut or
Gently round ends are seen in
squared ends in
and fusiform bacilli,which are present in oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract, are tapered at both the ends. Some bacteriavary widely in form even within a single culture, a phenomenon known as