Introduction of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Viridans streptococci
Table of Contents
Streptococcus pneumoniae is also called pneumococcus and pneumococcus is the commensals of the upper respiratory tract. It is an important etiological agent of pneumonia and otitis media in children that differs from streptococci in its morphology (diplococci), bile solubility, optochin sensitivity, and a specific polysaccharide capsule. It is Gram-positive, small (1µm in diameter), slightly elongated cocci arranged in pairs i.e. diplococci with the broad ends in apposition.
Viridans streptococci produce alpha hemolysis on 5% sheep blood agar. Viridans means green in color. They are commensals of the mouth and upper respiratory tract. This group contains many species, like Streptococcus salivarius, Streptococcus sanguis, Streptococcus mutans, and Streptococcus milleri. They cause endocarditis and dental caries.
Differences between Streptococcus pneumoniae and Viridans streptococci
Differentiation features of pneumococcus and Viridans streptococci are as follows-
|Character||Streptococcus pneumoniae||Viridans streptococci|
|Bile solubility Test||Positive||Negative|
|Optochin (ethylhydrocupreine hydrochloride) 5 µg Sucsceptibility test||Sensitive||Resistant|
|Mice intraperitoneally when injected||Death after 24 hours||No death|
|Mice intracerebrally when injected||Death after 6 hours||No death|
- Pneumococcus causes pneumonia and otitis media while Viridans streptococci are responsible for endocarditis and dental caries.
- The chemical name of optochin is ethylhydrocupreine hydrochloride.
- The quellung reaction is a biochemical reaction in which antibodies bind to the bacterial capsule of pneumococcus and it is also called the Neufeld reaction.
- Quellung reaction also occurs other than S. pneumoniae like K. pneumoniae, N. meningitidis, B. anthracis, H. influenzae, E. coli, and Salmonella.
- Sodium desoxycholate (bile salt) is used in bile solubility test.
Pneumococcus and Viridans streptococci Footages
Encapsulated (clear zone around the bacteria) strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae in Gram staining of CSF
Optochin Sensitive Pneumococcus Demonstration
Gram-positive diplococci in Gram staining of Streptococcus pneumoniae culture
Draughtsman colony of Streptococcus pneumoniae on blood agar demonstration
Gram-positive diplococci in Gram staining of Sputum
Numerous Gram-positive lanceolate diplococci and pus cells in sputum Gram staining
Gram-positive cocci in singles, pairs, short chains and long chains of Viridans streptococci in Gram staining of culture
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