SUMMARY: Staphylococci, micrococci and strains intermediate in guanine+cytosine (GC) content between these genera were all found to contain menaquinones. Two different types of menaquinone, described as ‘normal’ and ‘hydrogenated’ were revealed. Distinct and stable menaquinone patterns, formed by the percentages of individual isoprenologues, were found to characterize certain previously proposed species, groups or subgroups within the family. Studies on the distribution of menaquinones have also demonstrated heterogeneity within certain subgroups, notably Baird-Parker's Micrococcus subgroup 7, and the divisions within the yellow-pigmented micrococci revealed by Rosypal, Rosypalovα & Hořejš have been substantiated. Normal menaquinones were found in strains extending over a wide range of reported GC ratios (31.0 to 61.4%). These strains included staphylococci and non-pigmented micrococci, classified according to Baird-Parker, and also marine strains and others of uncertain taxonomic position. Hydrogenated menaquinones, however, were restricted to pigmented micrococci within the range 66.3 to 73.3% GC. There is thus evidence of a correlation between pigmentation, high GC ratio and menaquinone type. Menaquinone assay may contribute to the classification of Micrococcaceae and thus complement existing techniques in chemotaxonomy.


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