Fourth report of the cooperative, open-ended study of slowly growing mycobacteria by the International Working Group on Mycobacterial Taxonomy

Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1991 Oct;41(4):463-72. doi: 10.1099/00207713-41-4-463.


The open-ended study of the International Working Group on Mycobacterial Taxonomy is an ongoing project to characterize slowly growing strains of mycobacteria that do not belong to well-established or thoroughly characterized species. In this fourth report we describe two numerical taxonomic clusters that represent subspecies or biovars of Mycobacterium simiae, one cluster that encompasses the erstwhile type strain of the presently invalid species "Mycobacterium paraffinicum," one cluster that is phenotypically very similar to Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium intracellulare but may be a separate genospecies, one cluster that appears to be phenotypically distinct from M. avium but reacts with a nucleic acid probe specific for M. avium, and three tentatively defined clusters in proximity to a cluster that encompasses the type strain of Mycobacterium malmoense. Of special practical interest is the fact that one of the latter three clusters is composed of clinically significant scotochromogenic bacteria that can be misidentified as the nonpathogenic organism Mycobacterium gordonae if insufficient biochemical tests are performed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Agglutination Tests
  • Classification
  • Mycobacterium / classification*
  • Mycobacterium / growth & development
  • Phenotype