Five strains of an unusual catalase-negative Gram-positive asporogenous rod-shaped bacterium from human sources were subjected to a polyphasic taxonomic study. The presence of fructose-6-phosphate phosphoketolase, a key enzyme of bifidobacterial hexose metabolism, indicated the strains were members of the genus Bifidobacterium but they did not correspond to any of the recognized species of this genus on the basis of biochemical profiles and whole-cell protein analyses. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequencing confirmed the placement of the isolates in the genus Bifidobacterium, and demonstrated they represent a hitherto unknown subline within the genus displaying > 5% sequence divergence with recognized species. Based on both phenotypic and phylogenetic criteria, it is proposed that the isolates recovered from human sources be classified as a new species, Bifidobacterium scardovii sp. nov.; the type strain is CCUG 13008T (= DSM 13734T).


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