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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Mar;63(3):1006-10.

Comparison of the cellular fatty acid composition of a bacterium isolated from a human and alleged to be Bacillus sphaericus with that of Bacillus sphaericus isolated from a mosquito larvicide.

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Illinois Natural History Survey, Center for Economic Entomology, Champaign, Illinois 61820, USA.


The cellular fatty acid (CFA) composition of the cytoplasmic membrane of a bacillus isolated from a human lung and deposited in the National Collection of Type Cultures as Bacillus sphaericus NCTC 11025 was determined by gas-liquid chromatography. The CFA composition of B. sphaericus 2362, isolated from a microbial larvicide, and those of B. sphaericus reference strains obtained from public collections were also determined. Samples were grouped by hierarchical cluster analysis based on the unpaired-group method using arithmetic averages. Samples that linked at a Euclidean distance of < or = 2.0 U were considered to belong to the same strain. NCTC 11025 and the type strain of B. sphaericus, ATCC 14577, were mixed; all other isolates were monotypic. The predominant fatty acid in NCTC 11025 was 12-methyltetradecanoic acid, while the predominant fatty acid in the remaining isolates was 13-methyltetradecanoic acid. NCTC 11025 linked to the other isolates at a Euclidean distance of 83.8 U, and we concluded that it belongs to a different species that we could not identify. We could distinguish among six DNA homology groups of B. sphaericus by using fatty acids. Within DNA homology group IIA, strain 2362 could be distinguished from other strains belonging to serotype H5a, 5b. We concluded that CFA analysis is a useful technique to determine if future human isolates identified as B. sphaericus in fact belong to other species of bacteria or whether the isolates originated from commercial products.

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