Bacillus is a genus of Gram-positive rod-shaped bacteria and a member of the division Firmicutes. Bacillus species can be obligate aerobes or facultative anaerobes, and test positive for the enzyme catalase. Ubiquitous in nature, Bacillus includes both free-living and pathogenic species. Under stressful environmental conditions, the cells produce oval endospores that can stay dormant for extended periods. These characteristics originally defined the genus, but not all such species are closely related, and many have been moved to other genera.
^ Madigan M; Martinko J (editors). (2005). Brock Biology of Microorganisms (11th ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-144329-1.
Bacilli are rod-shaped, Gram-positive, sporulating, aerobes or facultative anaerobes. Most bacilli are saprophytes. Each bacterium creates only one spore, which is resistant to heat, cold, radiation, desiccation, and disinfectants. Bacilli exhibit an array of physiologic abilities that allow them to live in a wide range of habitats, including many extreme habitats such as desert sands, hot springs, and Arctic soils. Species in the genus Bacillus can be thermophilic, psychrophilic, acidophilic, alkaliphilic, halotolerant, or halophilic and are capable at growing at pH values, temperatures, and salt concentrations where few other organisms can survive
Due to the metabolic diversity in the genus Bacillus, bacilli are able to colonize a variety of habitats ranging from soil and insects to humans. Bacillus thuringiensis parasitizes insects, and is commercially used for pest control. Although the most well known of the bacilli are the pathogenic species, most Bacillus are saprophytes that make their living off of decaying matter. Still others, namely Bacillus subtilis, inhabit the rhizosphere, which is the interface between plant roots and the surrounding soil. The plants roots and associated biofilm can have a significant effect on the chemistry of the soil, creating a unique environment.
REFhttp://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Bacillus Acessado em 16/05/11