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Skerman VBD, McGowan V, Sneath PHA, editors. Approved Lists of Bacterial Names (Amended). Washington (DC): ASM Press; 1989.

Cover of Approved Lists of Bacterial Names (Amended)

Approved Lists of Bacterial Names (Amended).

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At the meeting of the Judicial Commission of the ICSB held in Jerusalem on the 29th March, 1973 an Ad Hoc Committee was appointed (Minute 22) to organize a review of the currently valid names of bacteria with the object of retaining only names for those taxa which were adequately described and, if cultivable, for which there was a Type, Neotype or Reference strain available; to compile these names under the title of Approved Lists of Bacterial Names and to publish the lists in the International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, to become effective on January 1, 1980. This date would then replace May 1, 1753 (International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria and Viruses. Rule 10) as the new date for determining priorities for names of new taxa.

The members of the Ad Hoc Committee originally appointed to oversee the task were S.P. Lapage, H.P.R. Seeliger and V.B.D. Skerman (Chairman). Following his election as President-Elect of IAMS, H.P.R. Seeliger resigned from the Committee and was replaced by J.G. Holt. P.H.A. Sneath, as Chairman of the Judicial Commission, was coopted to the Committee. This Committee was responsible for the editing of the first draft of the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names published in the IJSB (26, 1976, 563–599).

The Ad Hoc Committee was reconstituted by the Judicial Commission during its meetings at the International Congress of the IAMS in Munich in September, 1978, with V.B.D. Skerman (Chairman), P.H.A. Sneath (newly elected Chairman of the ICSB) and L.G. Wayne (newly elected Chairman of the Judicial Commission) as Committee members. This Committee was assigned wide powers to complete the work on the Lists and arrange publication.

The initial Committee agreed that, as a basis for inquiry, all names which had been included in the eighth edition of Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, whether listed as recognised species, synonyms, species incertae sedis, or under other headings should be circulated; that all Subcommittees on Taxonomy of the ICSB should be asked for advice on the retention of taxa for which the Subcommittees were responsible and that specialists be approached for advice on other taxa - only a small list of taxa remained to be considered by the Ad Hoc Committee itself. Advice was also sought on additional names of taxa which had been validly published since the publication of the Manual. Special provision had been made in the Code of Nomenclature for the inclusion of names validly published after the 1st January, 1978 (Rule 24a).

A list of specialists was drawn up and approved by the Ad Hoc Committee. Each specialist was asked to associate two others in reaching a decision on name retention. The Chairman accepted the responsibility for coordination of work associated with the selection of generic names and specific and subspecific epithets and P.H.A. Sneath for the names of higher taxa.

Names of Genera, Species and Subspecies

The Lists of names of species and subspecies were circulated by airmail in April, 1976 and a draft list of names recommended for retention published in the IJSB (26, 1976, 563–599) together with the list of those people associated with that stage of the project. Reference may be made to the draft list for details of the procedures adopted in processing the information.

The object of publishing the draft list was to enable microbiologists, in general, to submit opinions to the Ad Hoc Committee. Several were received. Some of these resulted in modification to lists submitted by Subcommittees on Taxonomy and others.

Rule 24a of the Code of Nomenclature provided, inter alia, for the publication with each bacterial name the name(s) of the author(s) who originally proposed it, a reference to an effectively published description of each species and its nomenclatural type whenever possible, and a Type, Neotype or Reference strain by its designation.

To conserve space in publication, it was agreed that for all references to the 8th edition of Bergey's Manual (Buchanan, R.E. and N.E. Gibbons (eds). 1974. Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, 8th ed. The Williams and Wilkins Co., Baltimore) be contracted to `Bergey 8'.

Although these requirements were formally published in the Code on 1st January, 1976 little action was taken by those responsible for various taxa and in order to assist resolution of the problem, the Chairman and his staff produced a document which listed Collections of Cultures of Microorganisms which held Type, Neotype and Reference strains for those species whose names appeared in the draft list and subsequent amendments. This list, which will be published elsewhere as a publication of the World Data Center for Microorganisms, has been used as a guide to the deletion of numerous names for which no cultures could be located.

The requirements of Rule 24a together with the list of strains, were discussed at a meeting of the ICSB with Subcommittees on Taxonomy at the International Congress for Microbiology in Munich in September, 1978 where the decision was made to list only one designation for each strain and preferably that of the American Type Culture Collection, where available. Because of difficulties associated with locating references to publications in which Type strains, Neotype strains or Reference strains had been designated, it was agreed that references would be given only to those publications concerned with the naming of the taxa and to descriptions of the taxa.

The Judicial Commission also determined that publication should be in the January (1980) issue of the IJSB, thus negating the requirement of Rule 24a that publication take place prior to 1st January, 1980. This action enabled the inclusion in the Approved Lists of names of all new taxa which had been validated by publication in the October, 1979 issue of the IJSB and so has obviated the need to make any further additions to the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names.

Formal notice of these requirements was circulated, by airmail, to all Subcommittees and specialists on 5th February, 1979 requesting return of the information by 31st August, 1979. Meanwhile, the Chairman and his staff proceeded as far as possible with the compilation of the whole of the required information, subsequently making use of such submissions as were ultimately received from others, to verify compilations already made.

Computer printouts, in the final format of assembled information, were distributed by airmail to all participants in July, 1979 for the purpose of verification and for the provision of information which was still missing.

A final decision to retain or delete some names was based on our ability to obtain the relevant information.

Names of Taxa Above the Rank of Genus

Compilation of names of higher taxa was undertaken by Sneath and his associates. No draft list was published but a proposal was discussed at some length in an open meeting at the Munich Congress. The format of the list as submitted was modified to conform with the format adopted for the names of the genera and species. References given in this section of the lists are restricted to those relating to the higher taxa. Those to genera will be found in the list of genera and species.

Designation of Strains

Strains have been designated by accession numbers of Culture Collections in which they have been deposited. Every effort has been made to ensure that the strains are actually available but no guarantee of this can be given. The Names, which have been omitted, may be revived if the location of suitable strains can be ascertained.

The following is a list of addresses of institutions, together with acronyms used to assign accession numbers.

AMRCFAO-WHO International Reference Centre for Animal Mycoplasmas, Institute for Medical Microbiology, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.
ATCCAmerican Type Culture Collection, Rockville, Maryland 20852, U.S.A.
BKMAll-Union Collection of Microorganisms, Institute of Microbiology, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR.
BKMWCulture Collection, Institute of Microbiology, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR.
CBSCentraalbureau voor Schimmel-cultures, Baarn, The Netherlands.
CCMCzechoslovak Collection of Microorganisms, J.E. Purkyne University, Brno, Czechoslovakia.
CDCCenter for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
CIPCollection of the Institute Pasteur, Paris, France.
DSMDeutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen, Schnittspahnstrasse, Darmstadt, Federal Republic of Germany.
IAMInstitute of Applied Microbiology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
IFOInstitute for Fermentation, Osaka, Japan.
IMRUInstitute of Microbiology, Rutgers - The State University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.A.
IMVInstitute of Microbiology and Virology, Academy of Sciences of the Ukranian SSR.
INAInstitute for New Antibiotics, Moscow, USSR.
INMIInstitute for Microbiology, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR.
IPVInstituto de Patologia Vegetale, Milan, Italy.
KCCKaken Chemical Company Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.
LIAMuseum of Cultures, Leningrad Research Institute of Antibiotics, 23 Ogorodnikov Prospect, Leningrad L-20, USSR.
LSULouisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A.
LMDLaboratorium voor Microbiologie der Technische Hogeschool, Delft, The Netherlands.
NCDONational Collection of Dairy Organisms, National Institute for Research in Dairying, University of Reading, England, UK.
NCIBNational Collection of Industrial Bacteria, Torry Research Station, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
NCMBNational Collection of Marine Bacteria, Torry Research Station, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
NCPPBNational Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria, Plant Pathology Laboratory, Harpenden, England, UK.
NCTCNational Collection of Type Cultures, Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale, London, England, UK.
NIAIDNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Hamilton, Montana, U.S.A.
NIHJNational Institute of Health, Tokyo, Japan.
NRCNational Research Council, Ottawa, Canada.
NRLNeisseria Reference Laboratory, US Public Health Service Hospital, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
NRRLNorthern Utilization Research and Development Division, US Department of Agriculture, Peoria, Illinois, U.S.A.
PDDCCCulture Collection of Plant Diseases Division, New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Auckland, New Zealand.
TCThaxter Collection, Farlow Herbarium, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
UMHUniversity of Missouri Herbarium, Missouri, U.S.A.
UQMCulture Collection, Department of Microbiology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
VKMInstitute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow, USSR.
VPIVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S.A.
WINDSORCulture Collection, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.


Whilst the task of compilation and preparation of manuscripts for publication has been of necessity concentrated in two areas, the successful completion of the task would not have been possible without the associated efforts of a large number of people whose names are recorded here.

T.V. Aristovskaya, P.K.C. Austwick, E. Baldacci, L. Barksdale, E. Barnes, P. Baumann, J.H. Becking, E.L. Biberstein, I. Bousfield, K. Bovre, W.J. Brinley-Morgan, D. Brenner, T. Brock, E. Brockman, M. Bryant, J.C. Burnham, J. Carr, W. Catlin, E.P. Cato, D. Claus, G. Colman, R.R. Colwell, M.J. Corbel, K.T. Crabtree, T. Cross, G.A. Dubinina, P. Dugan, D.W. Dye, K. Eimhjellen, G. Eldering, W.H. Ewing, S. Faine, S.M. Finegold, E.A. Freundt, W. Frederiksen, A.L. Furniss, E. Garvie, N.E. Gibbons, M. Goodfellow, M. Gordon, B.V. Gronov, H. Halt, A.C. Hayward, M. Hendrie, S.D. Henriksen, A. Henssen, G.J. Hermann, G. Gobbs, L.V. Holdeman, R. Hugh, D.B. Johnstone, D. Jones, L.V. Kalakoutskii, O. Kandler, K.-A. Karlsson, R.M. Keddie, M. Killian, K. Kitahara, J. Knapp, W. Knapp, M. Kocur, N.R. Krieg, S.P. Lapage, J.M. Larkin, H. Lautrop, H.A. Lechevalier, J. DeLey, R. Locci, S. Maier, N.S. Mair, P.H. Makela, M. Mandel, E. McCoy, H.D. McCurdy, K. McNiel, W.E.C. Moore, N. Nishida, H. Nonomura, R.A. Ormsbee, F. Orskov, I. Orskov, E. van Oye, O.M. Parinkina, N. Pfennig, J.E. Phillips, F. Pichinoty, M. Pittman, T. Pridham, C.I. Randles, J.W.M. LaRiviere, M. Rhodes-Roberts, D.S. Roberts, R. Rohde, B. Rowe, E.B. Rozlycky, E. Runyon, R. Sakazaki, V. Scardovi, D. Schafer, R.J. Sidler, J.M. Shewan, G.C. Simmons, I.J. Slotnick, R.M. Smibert, P.H. Smith, J.T. Staley, M. Starr, Y. Terasaki, Y.T. Tchan, E. Thal, J. Thompson, H. Truper, G. Tunevall, D.C. Turk, M. Veron, N. Walker, S.W. Watson, G. Wauters, L. Wayne, R.E. Weaver, O.B. Weeks, E. Weiss, H.J. Welshimer, S. Williams, G.A. Zavarzin, J.G. Zeikus, K. Zinneman.

Thanks are also due to Miss Annette McLennan who typed the original manuscripts and to Dr. Lindsay Sly, Dr. Horst Doelle and Mrs. Elizabeth Marden for considerable assistance in the search for Culture Collections maintaining strains of taxa in the Approved Lists and other information and to the numerous other unnamed people who have assisted in various ways in laboratories throughout the world.

The computer programs used in compiling these lists were written and controlled by Mr. Geoffrey Dengate, Systems Programmer, Prentice Computer Centre, University of Queensland. His help and expertise is sincerely acknowledged.

Specific Information relating to the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names

The names included in these Lists are those selected by Subcommittees on Taxonomy of the ICSB, specialist advisers and, where the former have not been available or have declined to advise, by the members of the Ad Hoc Committee.

With few exceptions (vide infra) names which have been included in the Lists are those which

  • were validly published before the 1st January, 1978 and which have been listed by advisers.
  • have been validly published since the 1st January, 1978 by publication in the IJSB or by inclusion in the lists of new names cited in the IJSB (to and including Volume 29, Part 4, 1979) as having been effectively published in other Journals.

Specific attention is drawn to the following

  1. Names included in the Approved List of Bacterial Names are the only names which are nomenclaturally valid as at the 1st January, 1980. All other names which have appeared in the literature prior to 1st January, 1980 are nomenclaturally invalid. Names which have been effectively published in Journals other than the IJSB but which have not been cited in the lists of new names published in the IJSB, have not been validly published under Rule 27 of the Code of Nomenclature. Such names may be validated by publication in forthcoming issues of the IJSB and will simply constitute names of new taxa.
  2. No name appearing in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names is conserved in the sense defined under Rule 56b of the Code of Nomenclature (1976 Revision).
  3. Any name previously rejected by the Judicial Commission remains a nomen rejiciendum and can no longer be used to name a bacterium.
  4. By majority decision of the Ad Hoc Committee, supported by an overwhelming majority of the members of the ICSB, all strains of bacteria which were submitted as nomenclatural Type strains, Neotype strains, Proposed Neotype strains or Reference strains have been elevated to the status of Type strains. The few objections which were received to the elevation of reference strains to Type status were based on concern that such reference strains may not prove to be the best choice for Type strains. This objection however, applies equally to quite a number of Type strains, particularly monotypes of which there are, and will continue to be, several. It seemed more appropriate that names appearing in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names, which constitutes a new base for future nomenclature, should have Type status or be omitted.
  5. For some names included in the Lists no strains were available. These names were retained to preserve the status of
    1. some microorganisms for which habitats are well known, which have distinct morphological characters but which have never been isolated. In most cases only the Type Species has been retained to preserve the status of the genus.
      a genus which contained well described species for which representative strains were available for all but the Type Species of the genus itself.
      Exclusion of the Type Species would have necessitated the exclusion of the genus as a whole under Rule 20c of the Code of Nomenclature. There were several of these. It is hoped that early action will be taken to request the Judicial Commission to conserve these genera with new Type Species in order that each species within these genera will be represented by a Type strain in a recognised culture collection.
  6. The Ad Hoc Committee has repeatedly stressed that its task was nomenclatural and not taxonomic; further that Subcommittees and others were not required to solve taxonomic problems before advising on retention of names. They were requested to omit names of doubtful species as such species could be revived (see 8 below).
    Because there are some differences of opinion regarding the generic position of some species it has been necessary to include the same microorganism under two names, each with the same specific epithet and the same nomenclatural type strain. In such instances cross-reference has been made to the alternate name. This applied specifically to the species in the genus Beneckea and the genus Vibrio and to a few instances in the Enterobacteriaceae. For this reason it is necessary here to reaffirm the statement made previously that no name in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names has been conserved. Names in the Lists may later be conserved, rejected, merged with other names or subjected to any other valid nomenclatural act.
  7. The names of some genera, for which there are no available strains for the Type Species, have been omitted from the Lists in order to permit the resolution of a very difficult nomenclatural situation arising from the recent publication of provisional names which have no standing in nomenclature but which have been cited by subsequent authors as though they were valid. Addition of new species, with nomenclatural types, to an invalidly published generic name renders the new names equally invalid. This refers specifically to the methane oxidising bacteria, where the otherwise valid name Methanomonas has been omitted in the hope that by so doing the impasse caused by the illegitimate substitution of the name Methylomonas may be resolved. Specialists in this field are now urged to publish a fully validated list of appropriate species.
  8. Reuse and revival of names which do not appear in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names is authorized by Rule 28a. In addition, the Code of Nomenclature (1976 Revision) contains a number or Provisional Rules. At the time of publication of this List these Rules still have only provisional status. It will require a specific act on the part of the Judicial Commission at a formally constituted meeting to raise these Provisional Rules to Rule status. Meanwhile they continue to be inapplicable.
    Revival of Names: A name which has not appeared in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names and which has not been listed as a nomen rejiciendum by the Judicial Commission may
    (a) be revived (nomen revictum) if it is to be used for the same taxon to which (in the author's opinion) it was originally applied. For citation of such names see Rule 28a and Provisional Rules B2 and B3.
    As most names which have not been included in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names have been omitted because of uncertainty of the validity of the taxa to which they apply, the revival of names should be practised very conservatively.
    Reuse of names — Specific and Subspecific epithets: There never has been any rule which forbids the use of the same specific epithet for taxa within different genera. Many contributors to the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names have voiced considerable concern at the possibility that a specific epithet may be used within the same genus as that in which it was originally used but for the naming of a taxon to which it was not originally applied.
    Unless the Judicial Commission takes action to prevent such usage, the Ad Hoc Committee can only urge taxonomists to avoid such reusage as may lead to considerable confusion in future nomenclature.
    For the same reason taxonomists are urged not to use as a specific epithet within a genus a name which has been used for an infrasubspecific subdivision of a species within that genus. This applies particularly to several genera of predominantly plant pathogens, where previously cited species have been relegated to the status of pathovars within species listed in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names. As such infrasubspecific pathovars may later be elevated to the status of subspecies or species, preemption of the pathovar name as a specific or subspecific epithet of a different taxon would obviously cause confusion.
    The International Society for Plant Pathology is publishing, in the Review of Plant Pathology, a list of pathovars of species which appear in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names. Taxonomists are urged to consult this list before proposing new specific epithets or reusing or reviving old epithets for new species within the relevant genera.
    Reuse of generic names: The reuse of a generic name which has not appeared in the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names and which has not been listed as a nomen rejiciendum by the Judicial Commission does not appear to be fraught with the same difficulties as those associated with specific and subspecific epithets. Taxonomists are nevertheless asked to seriously consider the possibility of confusion arising from the use of such names before taking such action.
    The correct form of citation for reused names is given in Provisional Rules B1 and B4.
  9. Omissions from Approved Lists of Bacterial Names. No names will be added to or removed from the Approved Lists of Bacterial Names. Attention may be drawn to errors in nomenclature or to errors in spelling or citations of references and such communications should be directed to the Executive Secretary, ICSB for transmission to the appropriate body. Please note that the omission of diacritical signs was intentional and dictated by the limitations of the computers used in setting up the type. These omissions do not constitute `errors' in the above sense.
    Every effort has been made to obviate errors by reference of the computer printouts of the final information to the original advisers for correction and also for insertion of some missing information. The final printout prior to production of the bromide copy for printing has been checked by the Chairman but the magnitude of the task allowed only of a search for the more glaring errors of which there were fortunately few.
Copyright © 1989, ASM Press.
Bookshelf ID: NBK847


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