SUMMARY: The classification of plant-pathogenic coryneform bacteria has been rev-recd many times. All plant-pathogenic coryneform bacteria were once classified in the genus . Currently, all are classified in the genera or . Difficulties still remain regarding the characterization of species and subspecies within these groups. Analysis of cellular fatty acids by high-resolution capillary gas chromatography has recently become a standard method of bacterial identification in many laboratories. In the studies reported here, cellular fatty acid analyses were performed to examine the plant-pathogenic coryneform bacteria as an autonomous group. A total of 189 bacterial strains were profiled. Results from these studies support the division of plant-pathogenic coryneforms into four major groups (genera). Further subdivision was not required for and , as each genus contains only one species of plant-pathogenic bacteria. Some, but not all, pathovars could be differentiated from one another based on fatty acid analysis alone. Infrasubspecific classification of plant-pathogenic organisms appears to be appropriate. Most of the species or subspecies belonging to the genus could be differentiated using fatty acid profiles. Other chemotaxonomic methods also differentiate organisms within . Reclassification is warranted within subspecies should be returned to full species status.


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