We examined a collection of 151 strains of the viridans type of streptococci, which were isolated mainly from human oral cavities and included several reference strains, in an attempt to revise and improve the taxonomy of this group of bacteria. Our examinations included determinations of a high number of biochemical and physiological characteristics and serological reactivity. The resulting data revealed several hitherto unrecognized characters of taxonomic significance, and several of the species can now be more accurately defined. A diagnostic key to the taxa is presented. Strains previously identified as could be divided into two clearly distinct species, sensu stricto (type strain, ATCC 10556) and a new species, (type strain, ATCC 10558). was divided into two biovars, consisting of strains possessing group O antigens and strains possessing group K antigen. The group of strains assigned to was biochemically and serologically heterogeneous, but the data did not allow natural subdivisions. Based on the results of this study, emended descriptions of the species , and are provided. The classification resulting from this study is in complete agreement with previously published genetic data.


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