A rhizospheric Burkholderia cepacia complex population: Genotypic and phenotypic diversity of Burkholderia cenocepacia and Burkholderia ambifaria

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The Burkholderia cepacia 'complex' (Bcc) presently comprises nine species and genomovars. In order to acquire a better comprehension of the species and genomovar distribution and of the genetic diversity among environmental Bcc bacteria, a natural population of 60 bacterial isolates recovered from the rhizosphere of maize and belonging to the Bcc has been characterised to assess the exact taxonomic position, the genetic polymorphism and the metabolic profiles of isolates. The identification of the different species and genomovars was accomplished by a combination of techniques including sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of whole-cell proteins and recA-based restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses. The genetic diversity among Bcc isolates was analysed by means of the random amplified polymorphic DNA and amplified fragment length polymorphism techniques; the analysis of molecular variance method was applied to estimate the genetic differences among the various species and genomovars identified within the bacterial population. Metabolic profiles based on carbon source utilisation were obtained by means of the Biolog GN assay and analysed by means of cluster analysis. Forty-four strains were identified as B. ambifaria, 11 as B. cenocepacia recA lineage III-B, four as B. pyrrocinia, and one as B. cepacia genomovar I. Marked genetic differences were observed between B. cenocepacia and B. ambifaria, whereas limited differences were found between B. pyrrocinia and B. ambifaria and between B. pyrrocinia and B. cenocepacia. No significant differences (P>0.05) were observed between the mean genetic distances of isolates belonging to B. cenocepacia, B. ambifaria, and B. pyrrocinia. Phenotypic analyses revealed that all isolates tested were able to utilise more than 75% of substrates. The highest variability in the number of utilised substrates was found among B. cenocepacia isolates, whereas the lowest was found among B. ambifaria isolates. Cluster analysis of metabolic profiles revealed pronounced differences between B. cenocepacia and B. ambifaria; in contrast, B. pyrrocinia could not be clearly separated either from B. cenocepacia or from B. ambifaria. © 2003 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179 - 187
Number of pages9
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2003


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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