In accordance with Recommendation 30b of the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria, minimal standards are proposed for the genus and the description of newly recognized species in this genus. Assignment of a strain to the genus requires that it is a Gram-positive coccus that forms clusters, produces catalase, has an appropriate cell wall structure (including peptidoglycan type and teichoic acid presence) and G+C content of DNA in a range of 30-40 mol%. The recommended minimal standards for describing a new species are based on the results of phenotypic and genomic studies of at least five independently isolated strains. They include colony morphology and the results of the following conventional tests: pigment production, growth requirements, fermentative and oxidative activity on carbohydrates, novobiocin susceptibility, enzymic activities (nitrate reductase, alkaline phosphatase, arginine dihydrolase, ornithine decarboxylase, urease, cytochrome oxidase, staphylocoagulase in rabbit plasma, heat-stable nuclease, amidases, oxidases, clumping factor, and haemolytic activity on sheep or bovine blood agar). DNA-DNA hybridization experiments may distinguish species when the difference between the binding in the homologous reaction and the binding in the heterologous reaction expressed as a percentage is less than 70%. In addition, rRNA signature sequence criteria, ribotyping characterization of the nomenclature type strain and other strains of the species, and reference strains of other species is recommended to describe the strains of the new species with sets of genetic attributes and reveal possible grouping errors. This proposal has been endorsed by the members of the Subcommittee on the taxonomy of staphylococci and streptococci of the International Committee on Systematic Bacteriology.


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