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J Clin Microbiol. 2001 Jan;39(1):139-45.

Comparison of antifungal activities and 16S ribosomal DNA sequences of clinical and environmental isolates of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.

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  • 1Department of Biosciences, Microbiology, University of Rostock, D-18055 Rostock, Germany.


In recent years, the gram-negative bacterium Stenotrophomonas maltophilia has become increasingly important in biotechnology and as a nosocomial pathogen, giving rise to a need for new information about its taxonomy and epidemiology. To determine intraspecies diversity and whether strains can be distinguished based on the sources of their isolation, 50 S. maltophilia isolates from clinical and environmental sources, including strains of biotechnological interest, were investigated. The isolates were characterized by in vitro antagonism against pathogenic fungi and the production of antifungal metabolites and enzymes. Phenotypically the strains showed variability that did not correlate significantly with their sources of isolation. Clinical strains displayed remarkable activity against the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. Antifungal activity against plant pathogens was more common and generally more severe from the environmental isolates, although not exclusive to them. All isolates, clinical and environmental, produced a range of antifungal metabolites including antibiotics, siderophores, and the enzymes proteases and chitinases. From 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing analysis, the isolates could be separated into three clusters, two of which consisted of isolates originating from the environment, especially rhizosphere isolates, and one of which consisted of clinical and aquatic strains. In contrast to the results of other recent investigations, these strains could be grouped based on their sources of isolation, with the exception of three rhizosphere isolates. Because there was evidence of nucleotide signature positions within the sequences that are suitable for distinguishing among the clusters, the clusters could be defined as different genomovars of S. maltophilia. Key sequences on the 16S ribosomal DNA could be used to develop a diagnostic method that differentiates these genomovars.

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