Defining the Pseudomonas genus: where do we draw the line with Azotobacter?

Microb Ecol. 2012 Feb;63(2):239-48. doi: 10.1007/s00248-011-9914-8. Epub 2011 Aug 3.


The genus Pseudomonas has gone through many taxonomic revisions over the past 100 years, going from a very large and diverse group of bacteria to a smaller, more refined and ordered list having specific properties. The relationship of the Pseudomonas genus to Azotobacter vinelandii is examined using three genomic sequence-based methods. First, using 16S rRNA trees, it is shown that A. vinelandii groups within the Pseudomonas close to Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Genomes from other related organisms (Acinetobacter, Psychrobacter, and Cellvibrio) are outside the Pseudomonas cluster. Second, pan genome family trees based on conserved gene families also show A. vinelandii to be more closely related to Pseudomonas than other related organisms. Third, exhaustive BLAST comparisons demonstrate that the fraction of shared genes between A. vinelandii and Pseudomonas genomes is similar to that of Pseudomonas species with each other. The results of these different methods point to a high similarity between A. vinelandii and the Pseudomonas genus, suggesting that Azotobacter might actually be a Pseudomonas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azotobacter vinelandii / classification*
  • Azotobacter vinelandii / genetics*
  • Cellvibrio / classification
  • Cellvibrio / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gammaproteobacteria / classification
  • Gammaproteobacteria / genetics
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Pseudomonas / classification*
  • Pseudomonas / genetics*
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S