How are bacteria classified, according to their morphology?

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orchid101 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Bacteria are very small organisms. The smallest bacteria are about 0.1 micron in diameter, while the largest may be 60*6 microns. Bacteria are classified according to their shapes:

(1) Spherical bacteria: these are called cocci (singular coccus). The cells may occur in pairs (diplococci), in groups of four (tetracocci), in bunches (staphylococci), in a bead-like chin (streptococci) or in a cubical arrangement of eight or more (sarcinae).

(2) Rod-like bacteria: these are called bacilli (singular bacillus). They generally occur singly, but may occasionally be found in pairs (diplobacilli) or chains (streptobacilli).

(3) Spiral -shaped bacilli: These are called spirilla (singular, spirillum). Short incomplete spirals are called vibrios or comma bacteria.


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