Heterogeneity among isolates of has been recognized for many years. The phenotypic properties of 340 strains considered to be were examined. While these strains were phenotypically similar and fit the description of , they could be differentiated into three groups on the basis of electrophoretic patterns of whole-cell proteins and DNA homology. Strains in groups I and II showed >80% DNA homology within groups and <75% similarity between groups. Strains of group III demonstrated >85% DNA homology to each other and <65% similarity to strains in groups I and II. We propose that be divided into the following three subspecies: subsp. , with type strain ATCC 25586; subsp. , with type strain ATCC 10953; and subsp. , with type strain ATCC 49256.


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