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Molecular taxonomy and phylogenetic position of lactic acid bacteria.

Lactic acid bacteria, important in food technology, are Gram-positive organisms exhibiting a DNA G + C content of less than 50 mol%. Phylogenetically they are members of the Clostridium-Bacillus subdivision of Gram-positive eubacteria. Lactobacillus and streptococci together with related facultatively anaerobic taxa evolved as individual lines of descent about 1.5-2 billion years ago when the earth passed from an anaerobic to an aerobic environment. In contrast to the traditional, morphology-based classification, the genus Lactobacillus is intermixed with strains of Pediococcus and Leuconostoc. Similarly, the physiology-based clustering of lactobacilli into Thermo-, Strepto- and Betabacterium does not agree with their phylogenetic relationships. On the other hand, the phenotypically defined genus Streptococcus is not a phylogenetic coherent genus but its members fall into at least 3 moderately related genera, i.e. Streptococcus, Lactococcus and Enterococcus. The genus Bifidobacterium, frequently grouped with the lactobacilli, is the most ancient group of the second, the Actinomycetes subdivision of the Gram-positive eubacteria. In addition, propionibacteria, microbacteria and brevibacteria belong to this subdivision but the latter organisms appear as offshoots of non-lactic acid bacteria.[1]

References

  1. Molecular taxonomy and phylogenetic position of lactic acid bacteria. Stackebrandt, E., Teuber, M. Biochimie (1988) [Pubmed]
 
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