A polyphasic taxonomic study of four strains of and four strains of (including duplicates of both type strains) supported the reclassification of both former species into one species, . Our conclusions were based on morphological and Analytab Products (API) tests, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of whole-cell proteins, gas chromatography of methylated fatty acids, pyrolysis mass spectrometry, DNA-DNA binding, and the following genomic fingerprinting methods: amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis, random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis, and AFLP analysis. The last method is a novel high-resolution DNA fingerprinting technique based on the selective amplification of restriction fragments. Despite more than 90% DNA relatedness between the strains studied, SDS-PAGE of whole-cell proteins, biochemical tests, and DNA fingerprinting (AFLP) distinguished between the and strains at the subspecies level. Taking this evidence along with differences in pathogenicity, we propose to reclassify the honeybee pathogens and as subsp. and subsp. . An emended description of the species and descriptions of the subspecies are given. The type strains are subsp. ATCC 9545 (LMG 9820) and subsp. NRRL B-3685 (LMG 6911 and ATCC 13537).


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