Five rhizobial strains representing the largest group in the genus associated with spp. in China were characterized taxonomically. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that these microsymbionts belonged to the genus , with USDA 3592, SDW018 and UPM-Ca36 as the closest neighbours (≥99.5 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity). Genotypic fingerprinting by whole-cell protein electrophoresis, DNA–DNA hybridization, comparative housekeeping sequence analysis of the , and genes, fatty acid profiles and a series of phenotypic and physiological tests allowed the novel group to be differentiated from all previously recognized species of the genus . This group therefore represents a novel species, for which the name sp. nov. is proposed with the type strain CCBAU 11299 (=LMG 24397=HAMBI 2990). Cross-inoculation tests showed that strain CCBAU 11299 could form effective nodules on , , , and .

Keyword(s): NJ, neighbour-joining

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