Scientific name Fusobacterium
Higher classification Fusobacteriaceae
|Lower classifications Fusobacterium nucleatum, Fusobacterium necrophorum|
Fusobacterium is a genus of anaerobic, Gram-negative, non-sporeforming, bacteria, similar to Bacteroides. Individual cells are slender' rod-shaped bacilli with pointed ends. Strains of Fusobacterium cause several human diseases, including periodontal diseases, Lemierre's syndrome, and topical skin ulcers.
Although older sources state that Fusobacterium is part of the normal flora of the human oropharynx, the current consensus is that Fusobacterium should always be treated as a pathogen. F. prausnitzii, a gut commensal associated with healthy patients, was moved out of Fusobacterium into its own genus, Faecalibacterium, in 2002.
In 2011, researchers discovered that Fusobacterium flourishes in colon cancer cells, and is often also associated with ulcerative colitis, although researchers have not determined if the organism actually causes these diseases or if it simply flourishes in the environment these diseases create. The bacterium is a big anchor for biofilms.