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Appl Microbiol. 1970 March; 19(3): 458–462.
PMCID: PMC376712

Unusual Sphaerophorus Species from the Large Intestine of Man


An obligately anaerobic, gram-negative microorganism identified as a Sphaerophorus species was recovered from the fecal material of two cancer (chronic myelogenous leukemia and idiopathic thrombocythemia) patients receiving cobalt radiation therapy. The organism, isolated on sheep blood-agar, exhibited extreme pleomorphism (rods, filaments, and spheroids) and was a major component of the anaerobic fecal microflora. In one patient the numbers of Sphaerophorus species (designated as isolate 6-13-68), Bacteroides species, and Clostridium perfringens declined after irradiation; however, they were stable in this same patient after a second therapeutic dose of radiation. The numbers of anaerobes in the other patient remained fairly consistent after radiation. The biochemical and morphological characteristics and carbohydrate fermentation reactions of isolate 6-13-68 most closely resembled those of Sphaerophorus ridiculosis.

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