Bacillus is a genus of gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria and a member of the phylum Firmicutes. Bacillus species can be obligate aerobes, or facultative anaerobes. They will test positive for the enzyme catalase when there has been oxygen used or present. Ubiquitous in nature, Bacillus includes both free-living (nonparasitic) and parasitic pathogenic species. Under stressful environmental conditions, the bacteria can produce oval endospores that are not true 'spores', but to which the bacteria can reduce themselves and remain in a dormant state for very long periods. These characteristics originally defined the genus, but not all such species are closely related, and many have been moved to other genera of the Firmicutes.
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