SUMMARY: The physiological properties of 229 strains of mycobacteria (photochromogens, scotochromogens, non-photochromogens and rapid growers) and others already classified were analysed. According to their metabolic capacities and using the method proposed by Sneath, three branches were established.

Branch I is formed by micro-organisms with a high metabolic capacity and rapid rate of growth. It includes sp.nov. and many unnamed strains with great disparity in their characteristics, that were placed in a separate branch labelled ‘irregular’.

Branch II includes micro-organisms that utilize only a limited number of carbohydrates. Belonging to this branch are and Three new species are described, two of them rapid growers, sp.nov. and sp.nov. and a scotochromogen, sp.nov.

Branch III, formed by (photochromogen), (non-photochromogen), (scotochromogen) and sp.nov. (scotochromogen). All are slow growing micro-organisms.

Neotype strains of old species are proposed and holotypes of the new species are designated. A key for the identification of these species and a taxonomic tree of mycobacteria are described.


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