Recent taxonomic studies on black-pigmented anaerobic rods, a group of bacteria found on mucosal surfaces of humans and animals, led to the subdivision of existing species and to the creation of new species. The aim of this study was to characterize all 11 currently recognized species of black-pigmented bacteria (55 strains) for their ability to hydrolyse a variety of natural and synthetic substrates and for their lectin reactivity. Although most of the strains demonstrated some activity against proteinaceous substrates, was the only species able to hydrolyse type I collagen. Most strains possessed glycylprolyl protease activity, elastase-like activity and phospholipase C activity, whereas trypsin-like activity was restricted to and . β-Lactamase activity was demonstrated in five strains belonging to the saccharolytic group. The lectin reactivity of the bacteria was determined by a dot-blot procedure using horseradish-peroxidase-conjugated lectins. Three lectins, LOTUS A, RCA-1 and ConA, failed to react with any of the bacteria tested. WGA reacted strongly with the cell surface of human biotypes of asaccharolytic black-pigmented bacteria ( and ) and . The animal biotype strains of showed a higher affinity for SBA and PNA than for WGA.


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