Previous DNA relatedness studies showed that strains idnentified as into two genetically distinct yet phenotypically similar groups, one being and the other, an unclassified taxon. In the present study, the taxonomic position of this second group was assessed by measuring DNA relatedness and determining phenotypic characteristics of an increased number of strains. Also determined was the second group's 16S RNA gene sequence. The 36 strains studied segregated into two genetically distinct groups showing DNA relatedness of about 30%; 18 strains represented the species proper and 18 the second group with intragroup DNA relatedness for both groups ranging from 70 to 100%. DNA relatedness to the type strains of presently recognized species with G+C contents of approximately 35 mol% ( and ) ranged from 22 to 37%. Although shown to be genetically distinct taxa, the two groups exhibited highly similar (98%) 16S RNA sequences. Phylogenetic analyses showed that both and the second group clustered closely with . Although not distinguishable by physiological and morphological characteristics, the two groups and B. cereus were clearly separable based on fatty acid composition. The data established that the second group merits recognition as a new species for which the name is proposed. The type strain is NRRL B-617.


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