A sample of 30 fluorescent pseudomonads isolated from the phyllosphere of sugar beet throughout a single growing season and shown to be closely related on the basis of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis was subjected to detailed phenotypic and genotypic characterization. Phenotypic traits were assessed on the basis of biochemical properties, assimilation of sole carbon sources, FAME analysis, organic pyrolysate content (MS-pyrolysis), and total cellular protein profiles. With the exception of total cellular protein profiles, numerical analysis of the data revealed two main clusters, each of which was divided into several subclusters. Numerical analysis of total cellular protein data failed to differentiate isolates into two main clusters, but nevertheless grouped isolates into six subclusters. On the basis of biochemical and carbon source assimilation profiles, 19 isolates were identified as biovar V, eight isolates as biovar III and three isolates as pathovar In general, all methods of phenotypic analysis grouped isolates according to time of sampling and leaf type. Genome analysis was undertaken by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of l, l, l and l macrorestriction fragments and revealed the presence of eight distinct genomic (clonal) groups. These groups correlated closely with the clusters generated by numerical analysis of phenotypic data, but there was no correlation between macrorestriction fragment profile and isolate identification; in fact the variation in macrorestriction fragment patterns within biovars was as great as the variation detected between biovars, and between and Statistical evaluation of macrorestriction fragment patterns revealed two examples of recent strain divergence: one was due to the presence of a 400 kbp plasmid within one isolate of a collection of nine otherwise genomically identical isolates, and the other was observed between two phenotypically similar isolates sampled 220 d apart. Genetic variation was expressed in terms of nucleotide diversity (π) and pairwise comparisons yielded values ranging from 0.0029 to 0.1517. The mean intrapopulation genetic variation was high (0.0993), but limited genetic variation was detected among isolates sampled on each occasion. Taken together this suggests a population comprised of a variety of apparently distantly related clones (genomic groups), each adapted to local conditions. Genome sizes were estimated from the sum of l restriction fragments and ranged from 4.2 to 5.5 Mbp. Examination of the distribution of l, l, l and l restriction endonuclease sites showed that the distribution of l sites differed significantly from the expected (random) distribution.


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