A review of cytochrome occurrence in bacteria is presented which gives the taxonomic distribution of cytochromes and which relates this to general physiological characteristics. Data obtained from published research and recent experimental studies on a total of 169 species of bacteria suggested the existence of four major groupings: (i) the aerobic and facultatively anaerobic, heterotrophic gram positives (cytochrome pattern .); (ii) the aerobic and facultatively anaerobic, heterotrophic gram negatives (cytochrome pattern either . . or .); (iii) anaerobic and microaerophilic heterotrophs (cytochrome pattern sometimes with ), and (iv) the chemo- and photo-autotrophs (cytochrome pattern plus ). The absence or minor presence of cytochrome in facultatively anaerobic and anaerobic heterotrophs was confirmed and was also observed in plant and animal pathogens. Cytochrome was confined in occurrence mainly to a small taxonomic group of organisms characterized by a high degree of adaptability to unstable habitats. This group was considered for further subdivision dependent upon the conditions causing the production of cytochrome .


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