Potential pathogens in the environment: Klebsiella pneumoniae, a taxonomic and ecological enigma

Appl Microbiol. 1973 Jun;25(6):900-4.


A nitrogen-deficient medium and m-Endo agar were employed in the isolation of members of the tribe Klebsielleae from surfaces of vegetables and seeds. With m-Endo agar at an incubation temperature of 37 C, nearly 50% of the vegetables and seven out of seven seed samples yielded organisms which biochemically and serologically were identified as Klebsiella pneumoniae, Viable counts were generally in the range of 10(3) cells per g of vegetable peel or seed. Organisms classified as K. pneumoniae exhibited seven different IMViC patterns, with the --++, ++++, and -+++ patterns most common. Seven of the eleven K. pneumoniae serotypes encountered have previously been isolated from human urinary tract and other infections. Fifty percent of the 40 K. pneumoniae examined exhibited positive acetylene-reducing activity, i.e., they possessed the capability for fixing N(2). Vegetables containing K. pneumoniae may constitute a potential reservoir for human nosocomial genitourinary or other infections.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylene / metabolism
  • Agar
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Disease Reservoirs*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / classification
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / growth & development
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / metabolism
  • Klebsiella*
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Seeds
  • Serotyping
  • Temperature
  • Vegetables
  • Water Microbiology
  • Wood


  • Agar
  • Acetylene