Obligately anaerobic, catalase negative, helically coiled with translational motility. Will creep on solid surfaces, such as agar media or glass. Cells are Gram-negative, 0.2 um by 6-16 um, with a 2-4-2 periplasmic flagellar arrangement. G+C content is 37-38 mol%
Ferments amino acids (alanine, cysteine, glycine and serine) with acetate as the major endproduct, with lesser amounts of lactic acid, succinic acid and formic acid. Ammonia is produced from amino acids. Arginine can serve as an energy source. Glucose can be degraded using the Embden-Meyerhof pathway , but not by the glycolytic pathway. Strains are resistant to rifampicin.