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Food Microbiol. 2011 Apr;28(2):236-44. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Jul 17.

Extended and global phylogenetic view of the Bacillus cereus group population by combination of MLST, AFLP, and MLEE genotyping data.

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Laboratory for Microbial Dynamics (LaMDa) and Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences (Microbiology), University of Oslo, N-0316 Oslo, Norway.


The Bacillus cereus group of bacteria includes species that can cause food-poisoning or spoilage, such as B. cereus, as well as Bacillus anthracis, the cause of anthrax. In the present report we have conducted a multi-datatype analysis using tools from the HyperCAT database ( that we recently developed, combining data from multilocus sequence typing (Tourasse et al., 2010), amplified fragment length polymorphism, and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis typing techniques. We provide a comprehensive snapshot of the B. cereus group population, incorporating 2213 isolates including 450 from food and dairy products, in the form of both phylogenetic supertrees and superclusters of genetically closely related isolates. Our main findings include the detection of phylogenetically separated groups of isolates possibly representing novel evolutionary lineages within the B. cereus group, a putative new branch of B. anthracis, as well as new groups of related strains containing both environmental and clinical isolates. In addition, the multi-datatype analysis revealed to a larger extent than previously recognized that food-borne isolates can share identical genotyping profiles with strains from various other origins. Altogether, the global analysis confirms and extends the results underlining the opportunistic nature of B. cereus group organisms, and the fact that isolates responsible for disease outbreaks and contamination of foodstuffs can originate from various genetic backgrounds.

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