The key difference between Enterococcus and Streptococcus is that Enterococci are generally nonhemolytic (gamma helolytic) while Streptococci are hemolytic (alpha and beta hemolytic).
Enterococcus and Streptococcus are two genera of lactic acid bacteria. Both genera include spherical shaped bacteria that are gram-positive, non-spore forming, nonmotile cocci and facultative anaerobes.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Enterococcus
3. What is Streptococcus
4. Similarities Between Enterococcus and Streptococcus
5. Side by Side Comparison – Enterococcus vs Streptococcus in Tabular Form
What is Enterococcus?
Enterococcus is a genus of bacteria that comprises gram-positive, non-spore forming, catalase negative, spherical shaped bacteria. It often occurs as diplococci. However, some of them form short chains. Moreover, they are facultative anaerobes that can respire in both oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor environments. Furthermore, these bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria due to their ability to produce lactic acids through carbohydrate fermentation.
Enterococci prefer to survive in the human intestine, and they become opportunistic pathogens when the conditions are favorable for the infections. E. faecalis and E. faecium are the two species that commonly cause human diseases. Some diseases caused by these bacteria are Urinary tract infections, infective endocarditis, biliary tract infections, suppurative abnormal lesions.
What is Streptococcus?
Streptococcus is a genus of bacteria that includes a diverse collection of gram-positive, non-spore forming bacteria. They are spherical in shape, and hence, the name ‘coccus’. They exist in pairs or chains similar to Enterococci. Many of these bacteria are facultative anaerobes while some are obligate anaerobes. Moreover, these organisms produce lactic acids through the fermentation of carbohydrates. Due to this property, they serve as an important bacteria in the dairy industry. Also, they are catalase negative. They don’t possess flagella, and therefore, they are nonmotile.
Streptococci are pathogens and commensals in the mucosal membrane of the upper respiratory tract, and some are in the intestine too. The infections caused by them can easily be cured by penicillin and other available antibiotics since they are susceptible to many antibiotics. S. pyogenes, S. pneumonia, S. suis, S. agalactiae, S. mitis, S. oralis, S. sanguis and S. gordonii are some species of Streptococci and are medically important.
What are the Similarities Between Enterococcus and Streptococcus?
- Both Enterococcus and Streptococcus are bacterial genera and belong to the phylum firmicutes.
- They are both gram-positive bacteria.
- And both are spherical in shape, hence the name coccus.
- Further, they both are facultative anaerobes.
- Both occur in pairs or chains.
- Both are intestinal commensals.
- Moreover, they both are strong carbohydrate fermenters and produce lactic acids.
What is the Difference Between Enterococcus and Streptococcus?
Enterococcus vs Streptococcus
|Enterococcus is a genus of grams positive nonmotile, non-spore forming bacteria that are nonhemolytic.||Streptococcus is a genus of grams positive, nonmotile, non-spore forming bacteria that are hemolytic.|
|Facultative anaerobes||Facultative anaerobes; however, some are obligate anaerobes|
|Less pathogenic than Streptococci||Pathogenic|
|Commonly found in the intestinal microbiome||Commonly found in the upper respiratory microbiome|
|Consists of nonhemolytic bacteria||Consists of hemolytic bacteria|
Summary – Enterococcus vs Streptococcus
Enterococcus and Streptococcus are two genera of gram-positive bacteria. Both genera include non-spore forming, nonmotile, facultative anaerobes. Bacteria in both genera are spherical in shape and occur in diplococci or short chains. Enterococci are generally nonhemolytic while Streptococci are hemolytic. This is the key difference between Enterococcus and Streptococcus.
1.Patterson, Maria Jevitz. “Streptococcus.” Medical Microbiology. 4th Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1996. Available here
2.“Enterococcus.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Apr. 2018. Available here
1.’Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus 01’By Photo Credit: Janice Haney CarrContent Providers from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL) (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2.’Streptococci’By User:Graham Beards – Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia