Pseudomonas is a genus of gram-negative bacteria. It was first described in 1882 by Carle Gessard. Pseudomonas is commonly found in soil, water and decaying matter. Many different species of this group of bacteria are opportunistic disease causing agents that affect humans, animals, and plants. It has 191 validly described species with the first species to be described being Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
As mentioned earlier, Pseudomonas is an opportunistic disease causing agent and often causes hospital-acquired infections (a.k.a nosocomial infections). As opportunistic organism, Pseudomonas often invades the host tissue and cause infection in hosts with weak immune system. It is often a problem in hospitals as it can contaminate equipment, increasing the risk of hospital-acquired infections. Some species can cause serious and often life-threatening diseases. The species often associated with infections is Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It is the species often associated with infection and inflammation during contact lens wear. P. aeruginosa colonizes the contact lenses and produce the enzyme proteases to kills corneal cells. The infection can lead to scarring and vision loss. P. aeruginosa is also associated with swimmer’s ear. Though other Pseudomonas species are also opportunistic they rarely cause infection.
The Ecology of Pseudomonas Bacteria
Bacteria from the genus Pseudomonas can thrive in a broad variety of niches, which range from natural environments to human-associated ecosystems. It is able to survive on dry services and inanimate objects for several months. It is one of the bacteria most frequently isolated from patients with hospital-acquired infections. The most common species, Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonizes more than 50% of humans.
Pseudomonas species are also able to grow and proliferate in the refrigerator causing a large decrease in the shelf life of dairy products. Species of Pseudomonas are particularly involved in the spoilage of meat stored at chill temperatures. Also, they are often the cause of milk spoilage even after the process of pasteurization.