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Seventeen bacterial strains previously identified as Vibrio harveyi (Baumann et al. 1981) or V. carchariae (Grimes et al. 1984) and the type strains of V. harveyi, V. carchariae and V. campbellii were analyzed by 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequencing. Four clusters were identified in a phylogenetic analysis performed by comparing a 746 base pair fragment of the 16S rDNA and previously published sequences of other closely related Vibrio species. The type strains of V. harveyi and V. carchariae and about half of the strains identified as V. harveyi or V. carchariae formed a single, wellsupported cluster designed as ‘bona fide’ V. harveyi/carchariae. A second more heterogeneous cluster included most other strains and the V. campbellii type strain. Two remaining strains are shown to be more closely related to V. rumoiensis and V. mediterranei. 16S rDNA sequencing has confirmed the homogeneity and synonymy of V. harveyi and V. carchariae. Analysis of API20E biochemical profiles revealed that they are insufficient by themselves to differentiate V. harveyi and V. campbellii strains. 16S rDNA sequencing, however, can be used in conjunction with biochemical techniques to provide a reliable method of distinguishing V. harveyi from other closely related species.

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Copyright 2002 Inter-Research.