SUMMARY: A large collection of isolates and type or reference cultures, together with representatives of the genera and , were included in a numerical taxonomic study. The 113 strains were examined for 101 morphological, physiological and biochemical characters and data were analysed using simple matching (), Jaccard () and pattern difference () coefficients with clustering by both single and unweighted pair group average algorithms. All of the analyses produced similar classifications which were little affected by test error, estimated at 1.1%. strains formed two major clusters identified as “” and the white group, respectively, while type strains of “ and were well separated from one another and all major clusters. The low phenetic similarity between the two clusters supports suggestions based on chemical data that “” may be better classified in a separate genus. Three subclusters were detected within the white group and equated with the species and The cluster was heterogeneous and, although it included strains identified and sp. (lilac), species could not be distinguished. The type strain of shared the distinguishing characteristics of this cluster and should be regarded as a member of the genus Only five strains of were included, but they formed a cluster with an internal structure which supported a previous numerical classification of species in this genus. Wall chemotype and spore heat-resistance properties were consistent with generic identification. As a result of this study, five spp. are recognized: comb. nov. nom. rev. (synonyms sp. nov. nom. rev.; (synonym The experimental data allowed the development of an identification scheme for these species and also provided tests to confirm generic identifications of other thermophilic actinomycete isolates.


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