We performed a numerical taxonomy analysis of 38 and related mycobacterial strains, including wood pigeon mycobacteria; this analysis was based on 22 tests, which were selected for their potential discriminative value from a total of 51 tests studied and produced four well-defined clusters. Cluster 1 contained the strains, including two strains isolated from Crohn's disease patients; cluster 2 contained and reference strains; cluster 3 consisted of the wood pigeon mycobacteria; and the only strain in cluster 4 was 316F, which is used for antigen and vaccine production. Strains in cluster 1 were mycobactin dependent even when they were subcultured, whereas strains in cluster 3 were unable to grow on egg medium and their growth was stimulated by pH 5.5. Growth stimulation by pyruvate, resistance to -cycloserine (50 μg/ml), and alkaline phosphatase activity also were characteristics that were useful for discriminating between clusters 1 and 3. The results of previous DNA-DNA hybridization studies have demonstrated that Chester 1901, Bergey et al. 1923, and the wood pigeon mycobacteria belong to a single genomic species, and we propose that the name of this species should be On the basis of the results of previous genomic analyses based on restriction fragment length, the results of polymorphism studies, and DNA patterns determined by field inversion gel electrophoresis as well as the results of our phenotypic study, we propose that the species should be divided into subspecies which correspond to pathogenicity and host range characteristics. An emended description of Chester 1901 and descriptions of subsp. subsp. nov., subsp. subsp. nov., and subsp. subsp. nov. are presented; strains ATCC 25291, ATCC 19698, and CIP 103317 are the type strains of the three new subspecies, respectively.


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