Fusobacteria: new taxonomy and related diseases

J Med Microbiol. 1993 Oct;39(4):246-54. doi: 10.1099/00222615-39-4-246.


Fusobacteria are anaerobic gram-negative bacilli. Since the first reports in the late nineteenth century, various names have been applied to these organisms, sometimes with the same name being applied to different species. More recently, not only have there been changes to the nomenclature, but also attempts to differentiate between species which are believed to be either pathogenic or commensal or both. Because of their asaccharolytic nature, and a general paucity of positive results in routine biochemical tests, laboratory identification of the fusobacteria has been difficult. However, the application of novel molecular biological techniques to taxonomy has established a number of new species, together with the subspeciation of Fusobacterium necrophorum and F. nucleatum, and provided new methods for identification. The involvement of fusobacteria in a wide spectrum of human infections causing tissue necrosis and septicaemia has long been recognised, and, more recently, their importance in intra-amniotic infections, premature labour and tropical ulcers has been reported.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Female
  • Fusobacterium / classification*
  • Fusobacterium / drug effects
  • Fusobacterium / isolation & purification
  • Fusobacterium Infections / drug therapy
  • Fusobacterium Infections / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents