Enterococcus faecalis

RANK: Species

TAXONOMY: Terrabacteria group -> Firmicutes -> Bacilli -> Lactobacillales -> Enterococcaceae -> Enterococcus -> Enterococcus faecalis


Enterococcus faecalis – formerly classified as part of the group D Streptococcus system – is a Gram-positive, commensal bacterium inhabiting the gastrointestinal tracts of humans and other mammals. Like other species in the genus Enterococcus, E. faecalis can cause life-threatening infections in humans, especially in the nosocomial (hospital) environment, where the naturally high levels of antibiotic resistance found in E. faecalis contribute to its pathogenicity. E. faecalis has been frequently found in root canal-treated teeth in prevalence values ranging from 30% to 90% of the cases. Root canal-treated teeth are about nine times more likely to harbor E. faecalis than cases of primary infections. E. faecalis is a nonmotile microbe; it ferments glucose without gas production, and does not produce a catalase reaction with hydrogen peroxide. It can produce a pseudocatalase reaction if grown on blood agar. The reaction is usually weak. It produces a reduction of litmus milk, but does not liquefy gelatin. It shows consistent growth throughout nutrient broth which is consistent with being an aerotolerant anaerobe. They catabolize a variety of energy sources including glycerol, lactate, malate, citrate, arginine, agmatine, and many keto acids. Enterococci survive very harsh environments including extremely alkaline pH (9.6) and salt concentrations. They resist bile salts, detergents, heavy metals, ethanol, azide, and desiccation. They can grow in the range of 10 to 45°C and survive at temperatures of 60°C for 30 min. Identified as a constituent of the oral microbiome by Human Oral Microbiome Database. Identified as constituent of vaginal microbiome. [PMID:23282177]

This species has been identified as a resident in the human gastrointestinal tract based on the phylogenetic framework of its small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences.[PMC 4262072]

Food fermenter
Gut associated
Oral microbiome
Vaginal microbiome

Enterococcus faecalis inhibits growth of
  • Peptoclostridium

  • Enterococcus faecalis growth inhibited by
  • Barnesiella
  • Coprobacillus
  • Lactobacillus