Staphylococcus vs Streptococcus- 20 Major Differences

Interesting Science Videos

Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are Gram-positive and the two most common pathogenic cocci of medical importance.

Staphylococcus and Streptococcus Differences

They are both non-motile, non-sporing, and facultative anaerobes which can be differentiated on the following grounds:


Character Staphylococcus


1.       Cellular Arrangement Spherical cells in clusters (grape like clusters). Spherical or ovoid cells in chains or pairs.
2.       Fission/Division Irregular division in all three planes. Division in one linear direction.
3.       Catalase Test Positive (Presence of catalase enzyme) Negative
4.       Halotolerance Halotolerant. Can tolerate upto 8% salt concentration. Inhibited by high concentration of salt.
5.       Capnophile No Yes
6.       Common Culture Media Used Mannitol Salt Agar

Nutrient Agar

Blood Agar
7.       Growth on Ordinary Culture Media Possible Not possible
8.       Nutritional requirement Simple Complex (fastidious organism)
9.       Colony morphology 2-3 mm in diameter, circular, opaque golden yellow colonies  (Staphylococcus aureus) b-haemolysis ,1 mm, circular, tiny needle tip colonies (Streptococcus pyogenes)
10.    Hemolysis No hemolysis or beta hemolysis. Either alpha,or beta or gamma hemolysis.
11.    Species Number About 40 staphylococcal species have been identified so far. About 50 Streptococcal species  have been identified so far.
12.    Differentiation into groups By means of coagulase test. By means of hemolysis pattern in Blood Agar and group specific cell wall polysaccharide (Lancefield grouping).
13.    Species Differentiation Coagulase test

– Novobiocin sensitivity test

– Biochemical tests

– Type of hemolysis

– Cell wall carbohydrate group     (A, B, C, etc)

– Bile Solubility Test

– CAMPT Test

– Optochin Sensitivity Test

14.    Normal Flora Staphylococci are found mostly on the skin as commensals. Mucosal membrane of human and animals. Mostly found in the oral cavity and respiratory tract.
15.    Pathogens Most of the Staphylococcal species are non-pathogens. Streptococcus cause many diseases.
16.    Pathogenic Species Staphylococcus aureus,

Staphylococcus epidermidis,

Staphylococcus haemolyticus,

Staphylococcus hominis,

Staphylococcus saprophyticus, etc.

Streptococcus pyogenes,

Streptococcus agalactiae,

Streptococcus bovis,

Streptococcus  pneumoniae, etc.

17.    Virulence Factors Polysaccharide capsule, slime layer, teicholic acid, lipoteicholic acid, adhesive proteins, clumping factor, protein A, exoenzymes ( DNase, hyalurinidase, phosphatase, lipase, exocoagulase, fibrinolysin), enterotoxin, exfoliative toxin, cytotoxins(a-haemolysin b- haemolysin d- haemolysin g-haemolysin, Leukocidin) Lipoteicholic acid, F-protein, capsule, exotoxin, streptolysin S and O (haemolysin), Exoenzymes (hyaluronidase ,DNase, streptokinase)
18.    Diseases caused Food poisoning,  bacterial conjunctivitis, skin diseases, community-acquired meningitis, Pneumonia, Surgical Site Infection, Wound infection,  impetigo, cellulitis, toxic shock syndrome, osteomyelitis and endocarditis. Strep throat, Scarlet fever, Impetigo, Toxic shock syndrome,

Cellulitis and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease), sinusitis, blood infections, pneumonia and meningitis in newborns.

19.    Types of Symptoms


The symptoms of the Staphylococcal infections can include fever, chills, low blood pressure and red, swollen, tender pimple-like bumps. The symptoms of a Streptococcal infection can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, rash, red and weeping skin sores, confusion, and dizziness.
20.    Treatment options Antibiotics like penicillin or methicillin if resistant. Vancomycin if MRSA. Penicillin / penicillin V amoxicillin


  1. Brooks, G. F., Jawetz, E., Melnick, J. L., & Adelberg, E. A. (2010). Jawetz, Melnick, & Adelberg’s medical microbiology. New York: McGraw Hill Medical.
  2. Parija S.C. (2012). Textbook of Microbiology & Immunology.(2 ed.). India: Elsevier India.
  3. Sastry A.S. & Bhat S.K. (2016). Essentials of Medical Microbiology. New Delhi : Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers.

Differences between Staphylococcus and Streptococcus

About Author

Photo of author

Sagar Aryal

Sagar Aryal is a microbiologist and a scientific blogger. He is doing his Ph.D. at the Central Department of Microbiology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He was awarded the DAAD Research Grant to conduct part of his Ph.D. research work for two years (2019-2021) at Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrucken, Germany. Sagar is interested in research on actinobacteria, myxobacteria, and natural products. He is the Research Head of the Department of Natural Products, Kathmandu Research Institute for Biological Sciences (KRIBS), Lalitpur, Nepal. Sagar has more than ten years of experience in blogging, content writing, and SEO. Sagar was awarded the SfAM Communications Award 2015: Professional Communicator Category from the Society for Applied Microbiology (Now: Applied Microbiology International), Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK). Sagar is also the ASM Young Ambassador to Nepal for the American Society for Microbiology since 2023 onwards.

2 thoughts on “Staphylococcus vs Streptococcus- 20 Major Differences”

  1. If possible please also the complete test like Coagulase Test, CAMPT Test etc. for the same. In my opinion that will enrich your article more.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.