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Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1996 Jan;46(1):270-9.

Reclassification of Paenibacillus (formerly Bacillus) pulvifaciens (Nakamura 1984) Ash et al. 1994, a later subjective synonym of Paenibacillus (formerly Bacillus) larvae (White 1906) Ash et al. 1994, as a subspecies of P. larvae, with emended descriptions of P. larvae as P. larvae subsp. larvae and P. larvae subsp. pulvifaciens.

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Laboratorium voor Microbiologie, Universiteit Gent, Belgium.


A polyphasic taxonomic study of four strains of Paenibacillus larvae and four strains of Paenibacillus pulvifaciens (including duplicates of both type strains) supported the reclassification of both former Bacillus species into one species, P. larvae. Our conclusions were based on morphological and Analytab Products (API) tests, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of whole-cell proteins, gas chromatography of methylated fatty acids, pyrolysis mass spectrometry, DNA-DNA binding, and the following genomic fingerprinting methods: amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis, random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis, and AFLP analysis. The last method is a novel high-resolution DNA fingerprinting technique based on the selective amplification of restriction fragments. Despite more than 90% DNA relatedness between the strains studied, SDS-PAGE of whole-cell proteins, biochemical tests, and DNA fingerprinting (AFLP) distinguished between the P. larvae and P. pulvifaciens strains at the subspecies level. Taking this evidence along with differences in pathogenicity, we propose to reclassify the honeybee pathogens P. larvae and P. pulvifaciens as P. larvae subsp. larvae and P. larvae subsp. pulvifaciens. An emended description of the species and descriptions of the subspecies are given. The type strains are P. larvae subsp. larvae ATCC 9545 (LMG 9820) and P. larvae subsp. pulvifaciens NRRL B-3685 (LMG 6911 and ATCC 13537).

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