These forms are termed by Fischer Metatrophic, because they require various kinds of organic materials obtained from the dead remains of other organisms or from the surfaces of their bodies, and can utilize and decompose them in various ways (Polytrophic) or, if monotrophic, are at least unable to work them up. The true parasites - obligate parasites of de Bary - are placed by Fischer in a third biological group, Paratrophic bacteria, to mark the importance of their mode of life in the interior of living organisms where they live and multiply in the blood, juices or tissues.
Such obligate parasites may be epiphytic (Erysipheae), the mycelium remaining on the outside and at most merely sending haustoria into the epidermal cells, or endophytic (Uredineae, Ustilagineae, &c.), when the mycelium is entirely inside the organs of the host.
Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they must eat meat in order to survive.
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All species in this genus are Gram-positive, obligate aerobes.