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n. pl. pro·te·o·bac·te·ri·a (-tîr′ē-ə)
Any of numerous gram-negative bacteria of the phylum Proteobacteria, including E. coli, the agrobacteria, many nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and many pathogens, such as salmonella.
[New Latin prōteobactērium, back-formed singular of Prōteobactēria, phylum name : Greek Prōteus, Proteus (the great morphological, metabolic, and ecological diversity of the phylum being likened to the god's shape-shifting powers) + New Latin bactērium, bacterium; see bacterium.]