A polyphasic taxonomic study was performed on a group of isolates tentatively identified as Burkholderia cepacia, Ralstonia pickettii or Ralstonia paucula (formerly known as CDC group IVc-2). The isolates were mainly cultured from sputum of cystic fibrosis patients or from soil. SDS-PAGE of whole-cell proteins and AFLP fingerprinting distinguished at least five different species, and this was confirmed by DNA-DNA hybridizations. 16S rDNA sequence analysis of representative strains indicated that these organisms belong to the beta-subclass of the Proteobacteria, with the genera Burkholderia and Ralstonia as closest neighbours. Based on genotypic and phenotypic characteristics, the organisms were classified in a novel genus, Pandoraea. The DNA base composition of the members of the new genus is between 61.2 and 64.3 mol%. This novel genus includes four new species, Pandoraea apista (the type species) (type strain is LMG 16407T), Pandoraea pulmonicola (type strain is LMG 18106T), Pandoraea pnomenusa (type strain is LMG 18087T) and Pandoraea sputorum (type strain is LMG 18819T), and Pandoraea norimbergensis (Wittke et al. 1997) comb. nov. (type strain is LMG 18379T). The available clinical data indicate that at least some of these organisms may cause chronic infection in, and can be transmitted amongst, cystic fibrosis patients.


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