Any of the spheroidal bacteria that make up the genus Streptococcus. The cells characteristically group together in chains resembling a string of beads. Streptococci are gram-positive (see gram stain) and stationary and do not require oxygen. Some species cause infections, including rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, strep throat, and tonsillitis. Others are used in commercial starters for the production of butter, cultured buttermilk, and certain cheeses. See also pneumococcus.
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