Seven strains of bacteria were isolated from Pacific oysters, Crassostrea gigas, with a focal or systemic disease. The strains were aerobic, Gram-positive, acid-fast, produced a mycelium which fragmented into irregular rod-like elements, had a peptidoglycan containing -diaminopimelic acid, arabinose and galactose as major sugars, mycolic acids with 46-58 carbon atoms and G+C-rich DNA. All of these properties are consistent with the classification of the organisms in the genus . A partial sequence of the 165 rRNA gene of isolate NB4H was determined following isolation and cloning of the PCR-amplified gene. The sequence was aligned with those of representative mycolic-acid-containing taxa and a phylogenetic tree was generated using the neighbour-joining method. It was evident from the phylogenetic tree that the three strains tested, RB1, OB3P and NB4H, were identical and belonged to the rRNA sub-group. The biochemical, chemical, morphological and physiological properties of the isolates were also essentially identical and served to distinguish them from representative nocardiae. It is, therefore, proposed that the strains isolated from the diseased Pacific oysters be assigned to a new species, . The type strain is NB4H (= ATCC 700418).


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