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Figure 2-7. Phylogeny of Bifidobacterium based on 16S rRNA sequence analysis.

tirely different phylum (Actinobacteria). Bifi-dobacteria are Gram positive, non-motile, non-sporing rods with a high G+C content (55% to 67 mol%). Cells often occur in pairs with a Vor Ylike appearance. They are strictly anaerobic and catalase negative, with a temperature optima between 37°C and 41°C and a pH optima (for growth initiation) between 6.5 and 7.0. Bifidobacteria are nutritionally fastidious and require vitamins and other nutrients for growth.Their ability to use a wide array of carbohydrates, including non-digestible oligosaccharides that reach the colon, may provide selective advantages in the colonic environment (discussed in Chapter 4). Sugar metabolism occurs primarily via the well-studied "bifidum" fermentation pathway that yields acetic acid and lactic acid. Bifidobacteria (except for B. longum) rarely contain plasmids.

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