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Trends Microbiol. 2006 Jun;14(6):277-86. Epub 2006 May 8.

Burkholderia cepacia complex species: health hazards and biotechnological potential.

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Department of Biotechnology, Protection of Health and Ecosystems, C.R. Casaccia, ENEA, 00060 Rome, Italy.


The Burkholderia cepacia complex is a group of nine closely related bacterial species that have useful properties in the natural environment as plant pest antagonists, plant growth promoters and degradative agents of toxic substances. Because these species are human opportunistic pathogens, especially in cystic fibrosis patients, biotechnological applications that involve environmental releases have been severely restricted. Recent progress in understanding the taxonomy, epidemiology and ecology of the B. cepacia complex species has unravelled considerable variability in their pathogenicity and ecological properties, which has set the basis for a reassessment of the risk posed by individual species to human health.

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