Arguably, one of the most remarkable bacteria taxa is Delftia, a genus first discovered in the Dutch city of Delft[1], where bacteria themselves were first discovered by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in the 1670s.[2] After discovering these small “animalcules,” as he called them, Leeuwenhoek could not have predicted the explosion in research and application of these microscopic bacteria.

With so many different properties that various bacteria possess, Delftia shine bright as gold in their unique abilities – they have the power to poop out gold! Well, with some caveats.

Delftia are Gram-negative, aerobic, rod-shaped bacteria that were originally isolated from soil samples. Gram-negative means that Delftia aren’t stained purple in a Gram stain since their cell walls only have a little bit of peptidoglycan, just like other bacteria like E. coli. Aerobic means that Delftia need oxygen to survive, and rod-shaped just means they look like rods when you look at them through a microscope. They were originally classified in another genus as Comamonas, but since being reclassified into their own Delftia genus, several species have been identified.[3] Delftia acidovorans was the first species identified way back in 1927[4], but since then at least 5 other species have been named, including D. deserti[5], D. lacustris[6], D. litopenaei[7], D. rhizosphaerae[8], and D. tsuruhatensis[9].

These different species have been isolated all over the world and in different environments, showing just how adaptable Delftia are. Some species have been known to cause infections in humans, but mostly for already immunocompromised patients in hospitals[10], so there’s no need to fear Delftia any more than you fear something like E. coli. Delftia are resistant to common disinfectants, many antibiotics, and heavy metals[11][12], allowing them to live in environments that many other bacteria would not be able to.



  1. Den Dooren de Jong, L. E. (1927). Ueber Protaminophage Bakterien. Zentralbl. Bakteriol. Parasitenkd. Infektionskr. Hyg. Abt. 2 71, 193-232.
  2. Gest, H. (2004). The discovery of microorganisms by Robert Hooke and Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Fellows of the Royal Society. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, 58(2), 187-201.
  3. Wen, A., Fegan, M., Hayward, C., Chakraborty, S., & Sly, L.I. Phylogenetic relationships among members of the Comamonadaceae, and description of Delftia acidovorans (den Dooren de Jong 1926 and Tamaoka et al. 1987) gen. Nov., comb. Nov. (1999). International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, 49(2), 567–576.
  4. Den Dooren de Jong, L. E. (1927). Ueber Protaminophage Bakterien. Zentralbl. Bakteriol. Parasitenkd. Infektionskr. Hyg. Abt. 2 71, 193-232.
  5. Li, C.-T., Yan, Z.-F., Chu, X., Hussain, F., Xian, W.-D., Yunus, Z., Hozzein, W.N., Abaydulla, G. and Li, W.-J. 2015. Delftia deserti sp. nov., isolated from a desert soil sample. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 107, 1445-1450.
  6. Joørgensen, N.O.G., Brandt, K.K., Nybroe, O., and Hansen, M. Delftia lacustris sp. nov., a peptidoglycan-degrading bacterium from fresh water, and emended description of Delftia tsuruhatensis as a peptidoglycan-degrading bacterium. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., 2009, 59, 2195-2199.
  7. Chen, W.M., Lin, Y.S., Sheu, D.S., and Sheu, S.Y.: Delftia litopenaei sp. nov., a poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate-accumulating bacterium isolated from a freshwater shrimp culture pond. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., 2012, 62, 2315-2321.
  8. Carro, L., Mulas, R., Pastor-Bueis, R., Blanco, D., Terron, A., Gonzalez-Andres, F., Peix, A. and Velazquez, E. 2017. Delftia rhizosphaerae sp. nov. isolated from the rhizosphere of Cistus ladanifer. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., 67, 1957-1960.
  9. Shigematsu, T., Yumihara, K., Ueda, Y., Numaguchi, M., Morimura, S., and Kida, K. Delftia tsuruhatensis sp. nov., a terephthalate-assimilating bacterium isolated from activated sludge. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol., 2003, 53, 1479-1483.
  10. Mahmood S, Taylor KE, Overman TL, McCormick MI. (2012). Acute Infective Endocarditis caused by Delftia acidovorans, a rare Pathogen complicating intravenous drug use. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 50(11):3799–3800.
  11. Rema T, Medihala P, Lawrence JR, et al. (2016). Proteomic analyses of Chlorhexidine tolerance mechanisms in Delftia acidovorans Biofilms. mSphere, 1(1):e00017–15. doi:10.1128/msphere.00017-15.
  12. Bautista-Hernández DA, Ramírez-Burgos LI, Duran-Páramo E, Fernández-Linares L. (2012). Zinc and lead Biosorption by Delftia tsuruhatensis: A bacterial strain resistant to metals isolated from mine Tailings. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 04(04):207–216.


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The Delftia Book Copyright © by rsharm27; Carlos C. Goller; Daiza Norman; and Noah Riley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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