AskDefine | Define spirillum

Dictionary Definition



1 spirally twisted elongate rodlike bacteria usually living in stagnant water
2 any flagellated aerobic bacteria having a spirally twisted rodlike form [syn: spirilla] [also: spirilla (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any of various aerobic bacteria of the genus Spirillum, having an elongated spiral form and bearing a tuft of flagella.
  2. Any of various other spiral-shaped microorganisms.

Extensive Definition

Spirillum in microbiology refers to a bacterium with a cell body that twists like a spiral. It is the third distinct bacterial cell shape type besides coccus and bacillus cells. Spirillum is a genus of gram-negative bacteria comprising elongated forms having tufts of flagella at both poles and usually living in stagnant water rich in organic matter. They are spirally twisted, and aerobic, certain species are pathogenic for humans. It is the type genus for the family Spirilliaceae in some bacterial classifications. The word spirilla comes form the greek word spirochaete which means "spiral-sheet".
spirillum in German: Spirillen
spirillum in French: Spirillum
spirillum in Dutch: Spirillen
spirillum in Swedish: Spiriller
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