It was difficult to differentiate Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. quasipneumoniae and K. variicola by biochemical and phenotypic tests. Genomics increase the resolution and credibility of taxonomy for closely-related species. Here, we obtained the complete genome sequence of the K. variicola type strain DSM 15968(T) (=F2R9(T)). The genome of the type strain is a circular chromosome of 5,521,203 bp with 57.56% GC content. From 540 Klebsiella strains whose genomes had been publicly available as at 3 March 2015, we identified 21 strains belonging to K. variicola and 8 strains belonging to K. quasipneumoniae based on the genome average nucleotide identities (ANI). All the K. variicola strains, one K. pneumoniae strain and five K. quasipneumoniae strains contained nitrogen-fixing genes. A phylogenomic analysis showed clear species demarcations for these nitrogen-fixing bacteria. In accordance with the key biochemical characteristics of K. variicola, the idnO gene encoding 5-keto-D-gluconate 5-reductase for utilization of 5-keto-D-gluconate and the sorCDFBAME operon for catabolism of L-sorbose were present whereas the rbtRDKT operon for catabolism of adonitol was absent in the genomes of K. variicola strains. Therefore, the genomic analyses supported the ANI-based species delineation; the genome sequence of the K. variicola type strain provides the reference genome for genomic identification of K. variicola, which is a nitrogen-fixing species.
Keywords: Average nucleotide identity; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Klebsiella quasipneumoniae; Klebsiella variicola; Nitrogen fixation.
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