Eikenella corrodens was first described in 1948 as a slow-growing, anaerobic, Gram-negative rod. A distinguishing feature of this organism is the ability to pit or corrode the agar in plated culture. The colonies grow in the little grooves and for this reason it was called a corroding bacillus. It was classified as Bacteroides corrodens. Further studies proved that the classification had been applied to two organisms. The major difference between the two being that one was a facultative anaerobe and the other was an obligate anaerobe. The facultative anaerobe was renamed Eikenella corrodens.
E. corrodens inhabits the mucous membrane surfaces of humans, most commonly the respiratory tract. E. corrodens can cause infections in humans when their immune system is weak. Once an infection has occurred it can travel to other parts of the body. E. corrodens is usually found with other bacteria in infections, commonly streptococci. E. corrodens is also responsible for about a quarter of human hand-bite wound infections and clenched-fist injuries. It is also a putative periodontal pathogen, found at high levels in humans with periodontitis. E. corrodens infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, ampicillin and tetracycline.