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BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Apr 8;13:169. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-169.

Sarcina ventriculi in blood: the first documented report since 1872.

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  • 1Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, PO Box 21, Helsinki 00014, Finland.



In 1872, in British Medical Journal (BMJ) Dr. David Ferrier published that Sarcina ventriculi (Goodsir) constantly occurred in the blood of man and the lower animals. His observation was based on bleeding experiments, incubation of blood at 100°F (37.8°C) and later examination. He found "immense numbers of beautifully formed sarcinæ". In the next issue of BMJ Dr. Charlton Bastian expressed concerns that Sarcina might indeed be "really a living thing" or "might be partly organic and partly mineral in its constitutions".


Anaerobic gram-positive giant coccae assembled in tetrads were recovered from one anaerobic blood culture bottle of a 48-year-old female who in her early childhood was diagnosed with congenital chloride diarrhoea. This is a rare recessively inherited disease that belongs to the Finnish disease heritage. The bacteria were identified with the 16S rRNA gene sequencing.


Here, after more than a century we present the first report that Sarcina ventriculi can indeed cause bacteremia in a susceptible person.

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