Aerobic Gram Positive Catalase Positive Cocci

Aerobic, gram-positive catalase-positive cocci occur in pairs, short chains, or clusters. They produce catalase (a very active enzyme) and form acid from carbohydrate. Some of them are quite heat resistant and salt tolerant and produce a variety of colors in food and culture media. Among them are important food pathogens and spoilage organisms.

Micrococcus species are aerobic, gram-positive cocci occurring widely in nature. Many species can grow under refrigeration and on inadequately sanitized equipment.

Staphylococcus is an important genus of gram-positive cocci. This is a facultative anaerobic organism that occurs widely in nature and on human skin. These bacteria produce a variety of extracellular enzymes and metabolites. The most important metabolite they produce is a group of heat-stable toxins called enterotoxins, which are the agents of staphylococcal intoxications. Once formed in food, these toxins are very difficult to destroy. Boiling for 1 h will not destroy the toxins but will kill the pathogens easily. The organism is salt tolerant and can spoil a variety of foods besides being an important food pathogen.

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