Among 130 strains of bifidobacteria isolated from the feces of rabbits, 26 were distinctive in: (i) having large cellular dimensions (4 to 5 by 17 to 20 μm); (ii) requiring an initial pH of 5.3 to 5.5 for optimum growth; and (iii) having a need for Tween 80 for optimal development in Trypticase-phytone-yeast extract-glucose medium. The other characters of these 26 strains, such as their temperature and oxygen relationships, catalase production, nitrate reduction, end products from glucose fermentation, enzymes of the hexose catabolic pathway, the percent of guanine plus cytosine in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), etc., are similar to those of most bifidobacteria. However, DNA-DNA hybridization studies revealed little or no polynucleotide sequence similarity to any other members of the genus We therefore regard these 26 strains as constituting a new species, for which we propose the name The type strain of this new species is RA3 (= ATCC 27540).


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