1887

Abstract

A polyphasic taxonomic study of the two subspecies of , subsp. and subsp. , supported the reclassification of the subspecies into one species, , without subspecies separation. Our conclusions are based on the analysis of six reference strains of subsp. and three reference strains and 44 field isolates of . subsp. . The latter originated from brood or honey of clinically diseased honey bee colonies or from honey of both clinically diseased and asymptomatic colonies from Sweden, Finland and Germany. Colony and spore morphology, as well as the metabolism of mannitol and salicin, did not allow a clear identification of the two subspecies and SDS-PAGE of whole-cell proteins did not support the subspecies differentiation. For genomic fingerprinting, repetitive element-PCR fingerprinting using ERIC primers and PFGE of bacterial DNA were performed. The latter method is a high-resolution DNA fingerprinting method proven to be superior to most other methods for biochemical and molecular typing and has not previously been used to characterize . ERIC-PCR identified four different genotypes, while PFGE revealed two main clusters. One cluster included most of the subsp. field isolates, as well as all subsp. reference strains. The other cluster comprised the pigmented variants of subsp. . 16S rRNA gene sequences were determined for some strains. Finally, exposure bioassays demonstrated that reference strains of subsp. were pathogenic for honey bee larvae, producing symptoms similar to reference strains of subsp. . In comparison with the type strain for subsp. , ATCC 9545, the subsp. strains tested were even more virulent, since they showed a shorter LT. An emended description of the species is given.

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2006-03-01
2020-01-27
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