Chemotaxonomic characterisation of Sphingomonas
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Based on published results and investigations done for this study, chemotaxonomic characteristics of all validly described species of the genus Sphingomonas, as well as unnamed strains of this genus and related genera such as Rhizomonas and Blastomonas, are presented. All representatives of this group, here designated as sphingomonads, contain ubiquinone (Q-10). The two different polyamine patterns characterized either by the predominant polyamine sym-homospermidine or spermidine separate the sphingomonads into two major groups. Complex polar lipid profiles were found in sphingomonads in addition to the characteristic compound sphingoglycolipid. Identical profiles were found only in a few phylogenetically highly related species. Common to all sphingomonads is a fatty acid composition with 2-hydroxy fatty acids (14:0 2OH in all currently recognized species) and the lack of 3-hydroxy acids, which distinguishes them from taxa outside this group. Qualitative and quantitative differences in the fatty acid compositions, in several cases, were also suitable for identification at the species level. Thus, the differences in the chemotaxonomic characteristics demonstrate that the analyses of these low molecular weight cell compounds are suitable for classification of sphingomonads.
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