From the sphagnum vegetation of moor biotopes in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia, 183 strains of a new type of rapidly growing, scotochromogenic have been isolated. Of these, 50 were randomly selected and subjected to a taxonomic analysis. The tested strains split urea and pyrazinamide (37 strains), hydrolyzed Tween 80, had phosphatase activity, and possessed putrescine oxidase and nitrate reductase. They produced acid from glucose, fructose, inositol, mannitol, and mannose and usually from sorbitol. Their internal similarity is 98.23 ± 2.29%. A comparison of their properties with those of strains of 22 taxa (clusters) of rapidly growing mycobacteria was made. The mycolic acid production and the micromorphology of these strains confirmed that the strains belong to the genus . They have unique lipid and immunodiffusion patterns and form special sensitins. Hence, they are considered as belonging to a new species of nonpathogenic, rapidly growing mycobacteria for which the name is proposed. Sph 38 is the type strain, a culture of which has been deposited in the American Type Culture Collection under the number 33027.


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