Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 101–120

Study of genetic relationships among marine species of the genera Beneckea and Photobacterium by means of in vitro DNA/DNA hybridization

  • John L. Reichelt
  • Paul Baumann
  • Linda Baumann

DOI: 10.1007/BF00416975

Cite this article as:
Reichelt, J.L., Baumann, P. & Baumann, L. Arch. Microbiol. (1976) 110: 101. doi:10.1007/BF00416975


Strains representative of species of the marine genera Beneckea and Photobacterium were used as reference standards in in vitro DNA/DNA competition experiments. Within a given species, strains were found to be related by over 80% competition. (Competition was defined as the amount of radioactive DNA displaced by heterologous DNA relative to the amount displaced by homologous DNA.) On the basis of interspecies competition values (expressed as averages), the following groupings could be made:
  1. 1.

    “Photobacterium” fischeri was related to strain ATCC 15382 by a competition of 38% and was distinct from all the other strains tested (competition ≤11%).

  2. 2.

    The genus Photobacterium consisted of 3 species, P. phosphoreum, P. leiognathi, and a newly designated species. P. angustum (composed of non-luminous strains). The latter species was found to be related to P. leiognathi and P. phosphoreum by 56 and 28% competition, respectively, while P. phosphoreum was related to P. leiognathi by 29%.

  3. 3.

    In the genus Beneckea, 65% competition was detected between B. harveyi and B. campbellii as well as between B. parahaemolytica and B. alginolytica. These pairs of species were related to each other by 51–58% and to B. natriegens by 34–56% competition. A newly designated pathogenic species, B. vulnifica, appeared to have a low but significant relationship to all the above mentioned species of Beneckea.

  4. 4.

    Two biotypes, related by 68% competition, were recognized in the species B. splendida. Similarly, B. pelagia was found to consist of 2 biotypes related by a competition of 67%. The competition values between these species were 38–40%.

  5. 5.

    B. nereida, B. nigrapulchrituda, and “Vibrio” anguillarum had competition values ≤30% to each other as well as to other species of Beneckea.

  6. 6.

    With Vibrio cholerae as the reference standard, V. albensis was found to be related by a competition of 82%, while V. proteus and V. metschnikovii had competition values of 22 and 12%, respectively. These results suggested that V. albensis should be synonymized with V. cholerae, while the latter two organisms should remain distinct from this species. V. cholerae as well as the other terrestrial organisms tested did not appear to be significantly related to any of the marine strains (competition values ≤27%).


The speciation derived from the results of the DNA/DNA competition experiments was compared to previous speciation based on phenotypic similarities.

Key words

DNA/DNA hybridization Beneckea Photobacterium Marine bacteria Marine pathogens 

Non-Standard Abbreviations


American Type Culture Collection


guanine + cytosine


National Collection of Marine Bacteria


National Collection of Type Cultures


standard saline citrate

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John L. Reichelt
    • 1
  • Paul Baumann
    • 1
  • Linda Baumann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BacteriologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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