Klebsiella oxytoca is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is closely related to K. pneumoniae, from which it is distinguished by being indole-positive; it also has slightly different growth characteristics in that it is able to grow on melezitose, but not 3-hydroxybutyrate. It was first described in 1886 when it was isolated from sour milk and named Bacillus oxytocus perniciosus (from Greek oxus 'sour' + -tokos 'producing').
Klebsiella oxytoca is characterized by negative methyl red, positive VP, positive citrate, urea and TSI gas production, is AA, and negative for TSI sulfide, DNAse, growth on sulfide-indole motility medium and the phenylalanine deaminase test.
It is a diazotroph, able to colonise plant hosts and fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form which the plant can use. Association of K. oxytoca with the barley rhizosphere during an entire vegetative period has been demonstrated. The bacteria adhere strongly to root hairs, and less strongly to the surface of the zone of elongation and root cap mucilage.
Outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella oxytoca have occurred in multiple hospitals and ICUs throughout the world, and handwashing stations have been identified as a potentially important environmental reservoir.
Houseflies (Musca domestica) have a mutualistic relationship with the bacterium K. oxytoca. This bacterium can live on the surface of the housefly eggs and has a deterrent effect on the fungi growing in manure, thus benefiting the fly larvae which are competing with the fungi for nutrients.
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- Klebsiella+oxytoca at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
- Type strain of Klebsiella oxytoca at BacDive – the Bacterial Diversity Metadatabase Archived 2016-06-10 at the Wayback Machine