DNA relatedness experiments were performed with 38 clinical isolates and 13 reference strains of coryneform taxa exhibiting a lipid requirement for optimal growth. Forty-five of these strains split into five genomic groups at the species level, whereas six other strains remained unclustered. Genomospecies II fits , but the other genomospecies were not genetically related to any of the defined species. Phylogenetic analyses of genes coding for small-subunit rRNA sequences revealed that two genomospecies (I and III) and form a tight cluster within the robust branch that groups all species presently sequenced. Reference strains of biotypes C-1, C-2, and C-3 of “” were found to fall into genomospecies I, as well as “,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coryneform group G-1, and CDC coryneform group G-2 reference strains. Biochemical tests allowed differentiation between genomospecies except between genomospecies IV and V and between six unclustered strains and genomospecies I. We propose a new classification for these lipid-requiring diphtheroids within the genus with the delineation of some CDC coryneform group G-1 strains (genomospecies III) as a new species for which the name is proposed. The type strain is strain JCL-2 (CIP 104099), isolated from a human corneal ulcer.


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