Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Brucella abortus



Brucella abortus


  • Last modified
  • 11 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Brucella abortus
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Bacteria
  •   Phylum: Proteobacteria
  •     Class: Alphaproteobacteria
  •       Order: Rhizobiales
  •         Family: Brucellaceae
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Brucella abortus

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Bacteria
  •     Phylum: Proteobacteria
  •         Class: Alphaproteobacteria
  •             Order: Rhizobiales
  •                 Family: Brucellaceae
  •                     Genus: Brucella
  •                         Species: Brucella abortus

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020

Pathogen Characteristics

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The organism responsible for brucellosis is a small Gram-negative coccobacillus that is non-motile, non-encapsulated and non-spore-forming. In infected tissue it normally occurs singly or in small groups. The colonies are circular and 2-4 mm in diameter. Smooth colonies appear translucent, honey-coloured and bluish-green or unstained when stained with crystal violet. Rough colonies appear granular, reddish-yellow and deep violet-red when stained with crystal violet. Mucoid colonies are stringy and appear transparent, greyish and light bluish-red when stained with crystal violet.

Several commercial firms produce media suitable for the isolation of Brucella. On primary isolation it usually requires the addition of 5-10% carbon dioxide and takes 3-5 days incubation at 37° C for visible colonies to appear. Brucella abortus produces H2S. It usually grows in the presence of basic fuchsin, but not always in the presence of thionin at standard concentrations, and is catalase and oxidase positive. It is lyzed by brucella-phages Weybridge (Wb), Firenze (Fz), Tbilisi (Tb) and Berkeley (Bk).

Each Brucella has a specific oxidative metabolic pattern that can be used to determine the ability of an isolate to utilize oxygen on various amino acid and carbohydrate substrates. Currently there are eight recognized Brucella abortus biovars (Corbel et al., 1978; Ray, 1979).

Vectors and Intermediate Hosts

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Stomoxys calcitransInsect

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Bos bison (American bison)No DetailsAlaskaParasitism (incl. parasitoid); Pest and disease transmissionGates et al. (2001)

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Parasitism (incl. parasitoid)


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Corbel MJ, Gill KPW, Thomas EL, 1978. Methods for the identification of Brucella. Tolcarne Drive, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 2DT, UK: Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Publications).

Gates CC, Stephenson RO, Reynolds HW, van Zyll de Jong CG, Schwantje H, Hoefs M, Nishi J, Cool N, Chisholm J, James A, Koonz B, 2001. National Recovery Plan for the Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae). National Recovery Plant No. 21. Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife (RENEW). Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: 50 pp.

Ray WC, 1979. Brucellosis (due to Brucella abortus and suis). In: Steele J, ed. Handbook Series in Zoonoses. Section A: Bacterial, Rickettial and Mycotic Diseases. Roca Raton, Florida, USA: CRC Press, Inc., 99-127.

Distribution References

CABI Data Mining, 2001. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,

Distribution Maps

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