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Gram-negative rod measuring 0.5 to 0.8 µm by 1.5 to 3.0 µm. Almost all strains are motile by means of a single polar flagellum.
The bacterium is ubiquitous in soil and water, and on surfaces in contact with soil or water.
Its metabolism is respiratory and never fermentative, but it will grow in the absence of O2 if NO3 is available as a respiratory electron acceptor. The typical Pseudomonas bacterium in nature might be found in a biofilm, attached to some surface or substrate, or in a planktonic form, as a unicellular organism, actively swimming by means of its flagellum.
Pseudomonas is one of the most vigorous, fast-swimming bacteria seen in hay infusions and pond water samples. In its natural habitat Pseudomonas aeruginosa is not particularly distinctive as a pseudomonad, but it does have a combination of physiological traits that are noteworthy and may relate to its pathogenesis.
Its optimum temperature for growth is 37 degrees, and it is able to grow at temperatures as high as 42 degrees. Although there is evidence to suggest it can grow at temperatures from 10 degrees centigrade
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen, meaning that it exploits some break in the host to initiate an infection.
In fact, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the epitome of an opportunistic pathogen of humans.
The bacterium almost never infects uncompromised tissues, yet there is hardly any tissue that it cannot infect if the body tissue are compromised in some manner.
It causes urinary tract infections, respiratory system infections, dermatitis, soft tissue infections, bacteremia, bone and joint infections, gastrointestinal infections and a variety of systemic infections, particularly in patients with severe burns and in cancer and AIDS patients who are immunosuppressed.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is a serious problem in patients hospitalised with cancer, cystic fibrosis, and burns. The case fatality rate in these patients is possible.
Like other members of the genus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a free-living bacterium, commonly found in soil and water