Bacterial Cell, Classification and Required Essential Contents for Growth


Ravi Kumar1*, Sweta Pundir2

1Bharat Institute of Technology, Meerut, U.P. India.

2Shri Ram College of Pharmacy, Muzaffarnagar, U.P. India.

*Corresponding Author E-mail:



The bacterial cell is generally single cellular micro organism that spread easily around us and infect host cell. In this review we discuss about the types and nutrient requirements for growth and spreading of bacteria. The bacteria are various types like as Phototrophs, Autotrophs, Psychrophiles, Mycoplasma etc.


KEYWORDS: Bacteria, Prokaryotic, Cytoplasm.





Bacteria are single cellular microscopic organisms. The study of bacteria is known as bacteriology and it is a branch of microbiology. The singular world of bacteria is bacterium. Bacteria have been grouped into prokaryotic, which means absence of nucleus.[1]


Ultra structure of Bacteria

Examination of bacterial cells with electron microscope reveals various component structures. Some of these are outside the cell membrane; others are internal to cell membrane.[2]


Fig: Ultra structure of Bacteria.


Major Contents of Bacterial cell-

       External structure- Capsule, Flagella, Cell wall, Fimbriae and Pili.

       Internal Structure- Cell membrane, Cytoplasm, Nucleoid, Ribosomes.


A. External structure

1.       Capsule: It consists of Polysaccharide layer and it’s a major component of every cells.[3]

Function: It enhance the ability of bacteria to cause disease.

2. Flagella- Flagella is helical shaped structure and it also help in the motility of bacterial cell.

3. Fibriae and Pili: There are 2 types of hair appendage, present on the surface of bacteria.

Function- To cause disease by binding on the surface of a cell.

4. Cell Wall- They contain peptidoglycan that provides rigidity to the cell wall. To protect the cell from internal pressure and prevent the entry of unnecessary content from extracellular.[4,5]


B. Internal structure

1.       Cell membrane – It is made up of double layer of phospholipids.

       Enclosed the contents of cell and act as a barrier that holds the cytoplasmic content with in the cell.

2. Cytoplasm:  The cytoplasm is consisting of viscous fluids that enclosed with the cell membrane. All the content of cell present in it.[6,7]

3. Nucleoid- It is an irregular shaped region that contains all genetic material, called Genophore. The nucleods can be seen under microscope after staining with the Feulgen Stain.

4. Ribosomes: The ribosomes are composed of 2 sub units and it’s responsible for protein synthesis by receiving and translating genetic instruction for the formation of specific protein.[8]


General aspects and Morphology of Bacteria:

       Bacteria are single cellular microscopic organisms. The study of bacteria is known as bacteriology and it is a branch of microbiology. The singular world of bacteria is bacterium. Bacteria have been grouped into prokaryotic, which means absence of nucleus.[9]


Classification of bacteria-

A.      On the basis of mode of nutrition

B.      On the basis of optimum temperature requirement for growth.

C.      On the basis of optimal pH for growth

D.      On the basis of salt concentration

E.      On the basis of gaseous requirement

F.       On the basis of morphology On the basis of gram staining

G.     On the basis of flagella

H.     On the basis of spore


A. Classification of bacteria on the basis of mode nutrition-

1. Phototrophs: Those bacteria which gain energy from light.

Phototrophs are further divided into two groups on the basis of source of electron.


2. Photolithotrophs: these bacteria gain energy from light and uses reduced inorganic compounds such as H2S as electron source Eg. Chromatium Okenii.[46]


3. Photo organotrophs: these bacteria gain energy from light and uses organic compounds such as succinate as electron source.


4. Chemotrophs: Those bacteria gain energy from chemical compounds

-  They cannot carry out photosynthesis.

- Chemotrophs are further divided into two groups on the basis of source of electron.[9.10]


5. Chemolithotrophs: they gain energy from oxidation of chemical compound and reduce inorganic compounds such as NH3 as electron source. Eg. Nitrosomonas

6. Chemoorganotrophs: they gain energy from chemical compounds and uses organic compound such as glucose and amino acids as source of electron. eg. Pseudomonas pseudoflava.


7.  Autotrophs: Those bacteria which uses carbon dioxide as source of carbon to prepare its own food. Autotrophs are divide into two types on the basis of energy utilized assimilate carbon dioxide. i.e. Photoautotrophs and chemoautotrophs.


A. Photoautotrophs: they utilized light to assimilate CO2. They are further divided into two groups on the basis of electron i.e. Photolithotropicautotrops and Photoorganotropicautotrops.[11,12]


B. Chemoautotrophs: they utilize chemical energy for ass of CO2.


8. Heterotrophs: Those bacteria which uses organic compound as carbon source are called as heterotrophs. They lack the ability to fix CO2. Most of the human pathogenic bacteria are heterotrophic in nature.[44] Some heterotrophs are simple, because they have simple nutrition requirement. However some bacteria that require special nutrients for their growth; known as fastidious heterotrophs.[45]


B. Classification of bacteria on the basis of optimum temperature of growth

1. Psychrophiles: Bacteria that can grow at 0°C or below but of growth is 15 °C or below and maximum temperature is 20°C are called psychrophiles Psychrophiles have polyunsaturated fatty acids in their cell membrane which gives fluid nature to the cell membrane even at lowertemperature.

Examples: Vibrio psychroerythrus, vibrio marinus, PolaromonasVacuolata, Psychroflexus


2. Psychrotrophs (facultative psychrophiles): Those bacteria that can grow even at 0°C but optimum temperature for growth is (20-30°C).


3. Mesophiles: Those bacteria that can grow best between (25-400C) but optimum temperature for growth is 37C Most of the human pathogens are mesophilic in nature.

Examples: coli, Salmonella, Klebsiella, Staphylococcus


4. Thermophiles: Those bacteria that can best grow above 450C. Thermophiles capable of growing in mesophilic range are called facultative thermophiles. True thermophiles are called as Stenothermophiles, they are obligate Thermophiles


5. Hyperthermophiles: Those bacteria that have optimum temperature of growth above 800C. Mostly Archaebacteria are hyperthermophiles. Monolayer cell membrane of Archaebacteria is more resistant to he and they adopt to grow in higher temperature.

Examples: Thermodesulfobacteria, Aquifex, Pyrolobus. [13,14]


C. Classification of bacteria on the basis of optimum pH of growth

1. Acidophiles: Those bacteria that grows best at acidic pH. The cytoplasm of these bacteria is acidic in nature. Some acidophiles are thermophilic in nature, such bacteria are called Thermoacidophiles.[43]

Examples: ThiobacillusThiooxidans.


2. Alkaliphiles: Those bacteria that grow best at alkaline pH .Example: vibrio cholerae: optimum of growth is 8.2


3. Neutrophils: Those bacteria that grows best at neutral pH (6.5-7.5). Most of the bacteria grow at neutral pH.[15]

Example: E. coli


D. Classification of bacteria on the basis of salt requirement

1. Halophiles: Those bacteria that require high concentration of NaCl for growth. Cell membrane of halophilic bacteria is made up of glycoprotein with high content of negatively (-Ve) charged glutamic acid and aspartic acids. So high concentration of Na+ ions is required to protect for -ve charge.[16]

Example: Archaebacteria, Halobacterium, Halococcus.


2. Halotolerant: Most of the bacteria do not require NaCl but can tolerate low concentration of NaCl in growth media are called halotolerant.[17,18]


E. Classification of bacteria on the basis of gaseousrequirement

1. Obligate aerobes:

Those bacteria that require oxygen and cannot grow in the absenceof O2. These bacteria carryout only oxidative type of

Examples: Mycobacterium, Bacillus.


2. Facultative anaerobes: Those bacteria that do not require O2 but can use it if available. Growth of these bacteria becomes batter in presence of O2. These bacteria carried both oxidative and fermentative types of metabolism.[42]

Examples: coll, Klebsiella, Salmonella


3. Aerotolerant anaerobes: Those bacteria do not require O2for growth but can tolerate the presence of O2.

Example: lactobacillus

4. Microaerophiles: Those bacteria that do not require O2 for growth but can tolerate lowconcentration of O2.[41]

Example: Campylobacter


5. Obligate anaerobes: Those bacteria that can grow only in absence of Oxygen

Oxygen is harmful to obligate anaerobes. These bacteria have only fermentative type of metabolism.

Examples: Peptococcus


6. Capnophiles: Those bacteria that require carbon dioxide for growth. They are CO2 loving organism. Most of the microaerophiles are capnophilic in nature.[19,20]

Example: Campylobacter: Helicobacter pylori, BrucellaAbortus


F. Classification of bacteria on the basis of Morphology-

1. Coccus: These bacteria are spherical or oval in shape. On the basis of arrangement, cocci are further classified as:[21]

i) Diplococcus: cocci in pair. Eg, Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, Pneumococcus

ii) Streptococcus: coccus in chain. Eg. Streptococcus salivarius

iii) Staphylococcus: coccus in bunch. Eg. Staphylococcus aureus

iv) Tetrad: coccus in group of four.

v) Sarcina: cocus in cubical arrangement of cell. Eg.Sporosarcina


2. Bacilli: These are rod shaped bacteria. On the basis of arrangement, bacilli are further classified as[40]-

i) Coccobacilli: Eg. Brucella.

ii) Streptobacilli: chain of rod shape bacteria: Eg. Bacillus subtilis.

iii) Comma shaped: Eg. Vibrio cholerae

iv) Chinese letter shaped: Coryne Bacterium Diphtheriae


3. Mycoplasma: They are cell wall lacking bacteria and it also known as PPLO (Pleuropneumonia like organism) E.g: Mycoplasma pneumonia


4. Spirochaetes: They are spiral shaped bacteria. E.g. Spirochaetes


5. Rickettsiae and Chlamydiae: They are obligate intracellular parasites resemble more closely to viruses than bacteria.


6. Actinomycetes: They have filamentous or branching structure. They resemble more closely to Fungi than bacteria. Example: Streptomyces


G. Classification of bacteria on the basis of Gram staining

1. Gram positive bacteria: Cell wall of these bacteria is composed of peptidoglycan layer only. Eg. Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, micrococcus

2. Gram negative bacteria: Cell wall of these bacteria is composed of Peptidoglycan and outer membrane.[21,22] Ég. E. coli, Salmonella


H. Classification of bacteria on the basis of Flagella

1. Monotrichous bacteria: bacteria having single flagella in one end of cell. eg. Vibrio cholera, Pseudomonas aeruginosa

2. Lophotrichous bacteria: Bacteria having bundle of flagella in one end of cell.

eg. Pseudo Fluorescence

3. Amphitrichous bacteria: Bacteria having single or cluster of flagella at both end of cell. eg. Aquaspirillum

4. Peritrichous bacteria: Bacteria having flagella all over the cell surface.[23,24] Eg. E.coli, Salmonella, Klebsiella

5. Atrichous bacteria: These types of bacteria are without flagella. Eg. Shigella


I. Classification of bacteria on the basis of Spore

1. Spore forming bacteria: Those bacteria that produce spore during unfavorable condition. These are further divided into two groups-

i) Endospore forming bacteria: Spore produced within the bacterial cell, Bacillus, Clostridium, Sporosarcina Eye

ií) Exospore forming bacteria: Spore produced outside the cell Methylosinus.[25.26]


2. Non sporing bacteria: those bacteria which do not produce spore.  Eg. E. coli, Salmonella.


Nutritional requirement of Bacteria- All the living organism require nutrition for their proper growth and functioning. Nutrition is the term use for supply of various chemicals or compounds to the cell for their growth and these chemical and compounds are called nutrients.[27,28]

       Macro nutrients

       Micro nutrients

1. Macro Nutrients

       Carbon: From organic compound or CO2. Main constituent of cellular material.[29]

       Oxygen: Water, organic compounds, CO2, O2.

       Nitrogen: Constituents of amino acids, nuicleic acid, Main component of proteins.

       Hydrogen: Main part of cytoplasm.

       Phosphates: Constituents of cell wall, Nucleic acid, Phospholipids.[30]

       Sulfur: Synthesis of amino acids etc.

       Potassium: Cofactor for certain enzymes.

       Magnesium: From magnesium salt.

       Calcium: Components of endospore.[31]


2. Micro Nutrients

       Zinc: work as coenzymes for metabolic activities and also for activation of enzymes involves in DNA, RNA biosynthesis.[32] Copper: essential for cellular respiration. Iron: ATP synthesis. Boron: for cell signaling. Magnese. Molybdenum. Cobalt.


Raw material used for culture media

       Culture media is also called as Growth media.

       It may be defined as the food material or substance required for growing microorganism in vitro.[33]

       It is a liquid or gel like substance made by the different ingredients that are required by the microorganism in order to show their growth.[34]

       Water: De-ionized water is used as a solvent.

       Mineral salts: helps in enzyme activity.[35]

       Carbohydrates: source of carbon and energy.

       Blood or Serum: used in few case to enrich the culture media.[36]

       Peptones: it provides nitrogen and carbohydrates in the medium.

       Meat Extract: It provides degrades protein, inorganic salt, carbohydrates and Growth factor.[37]

       Electrolytes: help in metabolic process, helps in adjusting osmotic pressure.

       Yeast Extract: it stimulate the growth of bacteria in the culture, media.[38]

       Agar: It is yellow granular powder from seaweeds, contain small amount of protein and some inorganic salts, acts as a solidifying medium.[39]


Factors Affecting Bacterial Growth[47]

1. Nutrition concentration                                 

2. Temperature

3. Gaseous concentration                                  

4. pH

5. Tons and salt concentration                          

6. Available water


Nutrient concentration:

       If culture media is rich in growth promoting substance, growth of bacteria occurs faster. Decrease in nutrient concentration decreases the growth rate.

       Different bacteria have different nutritional requirement.[48]



       Temperature affects the growth of bacteria by various ways.

       The lowest temperature that allows the growth is called minimum temperature and the highest temperature that allows growth is called maximum temperature.[49, 50]

       There is no growth below minimum and above maximum temperature.

       Below minimum temperature cell membrane solidifies and become stiff to transport nutrients in to the cell, hence no growth occurs.

       Above maximum temperature, cellular proteins and enzymes denatures, so the bacterial growth ceases. [51]

       When temperature is increases continuously from its minimum, growth rate of bacteria increases because the rate of metabolic reaction increases with increase in temperature.

       At certain temperature the growth rate become maximum, this temperature is known as optimal temperature.  

       On further increasing the temperature above optimal, growth rate decreases abruptly and completely ceases with reaching maximum temperature.[52]


       pH affects the ionic properties of bacterial cell so it affects the growth of bacteria. Most of the bacteria grow at neutral pH (6.5 - 7.5). However there are certain bacteria that grow best at acidic or basic pH. 


Ions and salt:

       All bacteria requires metal ions such as K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe2+, Zn2+, Cu2+, Mn2+ etc to synthesize enzymes and proteins.

       Most bacteria do not require NaCl in media however they can tolerate very low concentration of salt.

       There are some halophilic bacteria such as Archaebacteria that require high concentration of salt in media.[53]


Gaseous requirement:

       Oxygen and carbon-dioxide are important gases that affect the growth of bacteria.

       Oxygen is required for aerobic respiration and obligate aerobic bacteria must require O2, for growth. Eg. Mycobacterium, Bacillus

       For obligate anaerobes Oxygen is harmful or sometime lethal.

       However facultative anaerobes can tolerate low concentration of o2.

       Carbon dioxide is needed for capnophilic bacteria. Such as Campylobacter, Helicobacter pylori.[54]


Available water:

       Water is the most essential factor for bacterial growth.

       Available water in the culture media determines the rate of metabolic and physiological activities of bacteria.

       Sugar, salts and other substances are dissolved in water and are made available for bacteria.

Bacterial growth curve

       In higher organism growth refers as increase in size and volume of organism but in bacteria growth refers as increase in number.

       When fresh liquid medium is inoculated with a given number of bacteria and incubated for sufficient period of time, it gives a characteristic growth pattern of bacteria.[55]

       If the bacterial population is measured periodically and log of number of viable bacteria is plotted in a graph against time, it gives a characteristic growth curve which is known as growth curve or growth cycle.

       The growth curve is hyperbolic due to exponential bacterial growth pattern.

The growth curve has following phases:

1.     Lag phase

2.     Log phase or exponential phase

3.     Stationary phase

4.     Death phase or decline phase[56]


Lag phase:

       When bacteria are inoculated into new fresh media, it do not divide immediately. Bacteria take some time to adjust to the new environment. The time period in which bacteria is metabolically active but do not divide is called as lag phase.

       Lag phase is characterized by the period during which there is no increase in number of cell.

       Size of bacteria increase continuously so the bacteria have largest size at the end of lag phase.

       In this phase, microorganism tries to adopt in new environment. It is the phase of adjustment necessary for the synthesis of enzymes and co-enzymes for physiological activities.

       Time is required for adjustment in physical environment around each cell.[57]


Log phase or exponential phase:

       During this phase bacteria divides continuously at constant rate and the number of bacteria increase exponentially.

       In this phase all bacteria are in their rapid stage of cell division and show balanced growth.

       Due to rapid cell division, bacteria have smallest size in this phase.

       Bacterial population is nearly uniform in terms of their metabolic activities, chemical composition of cell and other physiological characteristics.

       Biochemical and physiological characteristics are commonly used for identification of bacteria are manifested during log phase of growth.[58]


Stationary phase:

       The bacteria growth reaches a state during which there is no net increase in bacterial population. This is called as stationary phase.

       In this phase a constant bacterial population is maintained by balance between cell division and cell death.

       In some bacteria, complete cessation of cell division occurs hence there is no net increase or decrease in number of bacteria.[59]


Death phase or decline phase:

       In this phase, number of bacteria decrease continuously and exponentially.

       During this phase, total count of bacteria may remain constant but the viable count decreases.

       It is just inverse of log phase. But the death rate is slower than growth rate.

       Death phase is brought about by various reasons, such as depletion of nutrition and accumulation of toxic wastes.[60]



The authors declare no conflict of interest to this review.



Ravi Kumar designed the study and managed all procedure of this study and prepared manuscript. Both authors participated in writing and giving feedback on the manuscript. Both authors have read and approved the final manuscript.



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Received on 22.03.2021            Modified on 24.04.2021           

Accepted on 15.05.2021   ©Asian Pharma Press All Right Reserved

Asian Journal of Pharmacy and Technology. 2021; 11(2):181-187.

DOI: 10.52711/2231-5713.2021.00030