bacillus bəsĭl´əs [key], any rod-shaped bacterium or, more particularly, a rod-shaped bacterium of the genus Bacillus. Some bacterium in the genus cause disease, for example B. anthracis is the cause of anthrax; others are useful in the production of antibiotics (e.g., gramicidin and bacitracin). Many organisms earlier classified as Bacillus species are now placed in different genera but continue to be referred to as baccili.
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