In 1899, Thiercelin described gram-positive coccoid bacteria isolated from the human intestine and introduced the name "enterocoque" [1]. However, in the beginning of the twentieth century the term Streptococcus was more commonly used. In 1937, Sherman developed a new scheme and classified the genus Streptococcus into four main groups: pyogenic, viridans and lactic streptococci and enterococci. Enterococci were separated from other Streptococcus species as they grow between 10°C and 45°C, in 6.5% NaCI, and at pH 9.6. Moreover, they are able to survive for 30 min. at 60°C and hydrolyze esculine into esculitine. All members of the genus Enterococcus react with the Lancefield group D antisera. Recently, DNA hybridization experiments have indicated that enterococci are distinct from streptococci, and subsequently, the genus Enterococcus was introduced in 1984. Biochemical classification divided the genus Enterococcus in 17 different species; Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus faecafis, Enterococcus hirae, Enterococcus durans, Enterococcus gallinarum, Enterococcus avium/ Enterococcus mundtii, Enterococcus casse/iflavus, Enterococcus moledoratus, Enterococcus pseudoavium, Enterococcus solitarus, Enterococcus raffinosus, Enterococcus cecorum, Enterococcus flavescens, Enterococcus columbae, Enterococcus dispar, Enterococcus sacchrolyticus.

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H.A. Verbrugh (Henri)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Abott, BaseClear, Bayer, Becton & Dickenson, Bio-Merieux, Merck Sharp & Dome, Oxoid, Pfizer, Pharmacia, Wyeth-LeDerle, Stichting Microbie!e Typering
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Braak, N.P.W.C.J. (2001, November 21). Glycopeptide-Resistant Enterococci in The Netherlands: Surveillance and Genome Analysis. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from