Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology

Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology

Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology is the main resource for determining the identity of bacteria species, utilizing every characterizing aspect.

The manual was published subsequent to the Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, though the latter is still published as a guide for identifying unknown bacteria.[1] First published in 1923 by David Hendricks Bergey, it is used to classify bacteria based on their structural and functional attributes by arranging them into specific familial orders. However, this process has become more empirical in recent years.[2]


The change in volume set to "Systematic Bacteriology" came in a new contract in 1980, whereupon the new style included "relationships between organisms" and had "expanded scope" overall. This new style was picked up for a four volume set[3] that first began publishing in 1984. The information in the volumes were separated as follows:

Volume 1 included information on all types of Gram-negative bacteria that were considered to have "medical and industrial importance." Volume 2 included information on all types of Gram-positive bacteria. Volume 3 deals with all of the remaining, slightly different Gram-negative bacteria, along with the archaea. Volume 4 has information on filamentous actinomycetes and other, similar bacteria.[4]

The current volumes differ drastically from previous volumes in that many higher taxa are not defined in terms of phenotype, but solely on 16S phylogeny, as is the case of the classes within Proteobacteria.[5]

The current grouping is as follows:

Critical reception

The Annals of Internal Medicine described the volumes as "clearly written, precise, and easy to read" and "particularly designed for those interested in taxonomy."[12]


External links

  • Bergey's Manual Trust Home Page
  • Bergey's Manual Identification Flow Charts
  • Book Information