STAPHYLOCCOCI: GROUP CHARACTERISTICS
Although staphylococci have a marked tendency to form clusters (from the Greek staphyle, bunch of grapes), some single cells, pairs, and short chains are also seen. Staphylococci have a typical Gram-positive cell wall structure. Like all medically impor-tant cocci, they are nonflagellate, nonmotile, and non-spore-forming. Staphylococci grow best aerobically but are facultatively anaerobic. In contrast to streptococci, staphylococci produce catalase. More than one dozen species of staphylococci colonize humans; of these, three are of major medical importance: S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and S. sapro-phyticus (Table 16 – 1). The ability of S. aureus to form coagulase separates it from theother, less virulent species.
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