has long been recognised as a heterogeneous group of organisms. The description and identification of two new subgroups, and , in other countries encouraged us to re-examine a collection of isolates from the UK. Of 73 clinical isolates identified as from different parts of England and Wales during 1991–1993, and now subjected to further differentiation tests by the Mycobacterial/Nocardial Reference Laboratory, 15 (20.5%) were identified as based on three out of four characteristics: growth property, acetamide production, rhamnose assimilation and a distinct antibiogram. No isolates were identified as . A revised identification and susceptibility system has significant clinical and taxonomic implications. Its introduction will improve speciation, identify antibiotic resistance and influence the choice of safer alternative therapy for patients infected with spp. in the UK.


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