A total of 17 strains that originated from different environments and 24 reference strains were classified by performing a restriction endonuclease analysis of total chromosomal DNAs digested with RI, III, and I, and the resulting patterns were visualized after the fragments were separated according to size by agarose gel electrophoresis. The patterns were analyzed by using the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient and the unweighted pair group algorithm with arithmetic averages. All but two strains formed a cluster that was separated from the reference strains at a similarity level of 29% (cluster 1). The two remaining strains (cluster 2) merged with cluster 1 at a level of similarity of 28%. The reference strains formed four additional clusters, and four reference strains were stragglers. Cluster 3 (three strains) and cluster 4 (including CCUG 32235 [T = type strain] and ATCC 14931) merged with cluster 1 at a level of similarity of 25%. Cluster 5 comprised and strains, and cluster 6 contained the type strains of , and . Cluster 1 () was divided into three subclusters, and this subdivision reflected to some extent certain phenotypic features of presumed ecological significance, including the ability to adhere to intestinal mucosa (subcluster 1c) and starch and glycogen degradation (subcluster la). A principal-component analysis significantly distinguished the strains belonging to different species. Also, the subcluster 1c strains could be separated from the rest of the strains. The results of restriction endonuclease analysis of total chromosomal DNA were found to be reproducible, and this method can be used to (i) differentiate between similar strains belonging to the same species and group strains within a species, (ii) distinguish between strains of different species, and (iii) place strains in specific species.


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