strains from human infection (21) were compared with strains from animals (17 biotype A, 2 biotype AB, 4 biotype B, 1 biotype unknown), and the type strain NCTC 10575 in conventional tests reaction patterns (CTRPs), SDS-PAGE and pyrolysis mass spectrometry (PMS). Classifications from the three approaches showed one major consensus group comprising all human strains, and another comprising animal biotype A strains. Animal biotype B strains and one animal strain, designated with some doubt to biotype A, were outliers of the consensus ‘human strain’ group. Again, animal biotype AB strains were outliers of the consensus ‘animal biotype A group’, as was the type strain, which was clearly atypical in conventional tests and PMS. Colonial and microscopic characters showed good discrimination between the major consensus groups. However, only haemagglutination and the API-ZYM leucine arylamidase of the biochemical tests discriminated well between these groups. The ‘animal biotype A group’ clearly corresponds to subsp. , but synonymy of subsp. with the group of human strains was less certain. The latter subspecies was described solely on the basis of animal strains, all of biotype B, but each of four animal biotype B strains in this study was an outlier of the ‘human strain group’ in one or more of the characterisation approaches. Strains of causing human infection were clearly distinct from the biotype A strains commonly found in animal infection. This has implications for the validity of animal models of human necrobacillosis. In view of these differences, it would be useful to have a validated designation for strains causing human infection. However, it would be premature to assume that the definition of subsp. encompasses the human strains in the absence of confirmatory DNA-homology and 16S rRNA-sequencing studies.


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