Salmonella is a gram-negative, rod-shaped (bacillus) bacteria genus that belongs to the family Enterobacteriaceae. Salmonella contains two species: Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori. The type species is Salmonella enterica (S. enterica), which is widely found in warm-blood animals all over the world. Salmonella enterica can be further catalogued into 6 subspecies, with more than 2,500 serotypes. Salmonella bongori (S. bongori), however, is restricted to cold-blooded animals, particularly reptiles. Species of Salmonella are facultative intracellular pathogens. They can infect many different animal species, including humans. Thus they can be transfered between human and other animals. Salmonella infection may cause illness such as salmonellosis (food poisoning), typhoid fever, and paratyphoid fever.
Fig. 1. S. Typhi bacteria.
Both S. enterica and S. bongori are predominantly motile, nonspore-forming enterobacteria with peritrichous flagella all around the cell. Salmonella cells have diameters between about 0.7 and 1.5 µm, and lengths from 2 to 5 µm. Salmonella are chemotrophs, which means that they can obtain energy from oxidation and reduction reactions of organic sources. And they are capable of surviving with the presence or absence of oxygen (facultative anaerobes).
Salmonella are facultative intracellular pathogens. Salmonella species infect their hosts through ingestion of contaminated food. Serovars of Salmonella can be catalogued into two main groups: typhoidal Salmonella and nontyphoidal Salmonella. Nontyphoidal Salmonella is more common and its infection can cause food poisoning (Salmonellosis). Infants and children are more likely to be infected. Salmonellosis is more common in summer than in winter. Symptoms may include fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Nontyphoidal Salmonella are zoonotic, which is to say, they can be transferred between humans and other animals. While typhoidal serovars such as Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A are thought to be adapted to humans only.
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