When analysing a large cohort of Staphylococcus haemolyticus, using whole-genome sequencing, five human isolates (four from the skin and one from a blood culture) with aberrant phenotypic and genotypic traits were identified. They were phenotypically similar with yellow colonies, nearly identical 16S rRNA gene sequences and initially speciated as S. haemolyticus based on 16S rRNA gene sequence and MALDI-TOF MS. However, compared to S. haemolyticus, these five strains demonstrate: (i) considerable phylogenetic distance with an average nucleotide identity <95 % and inferred DNA-DNA hybridization <70 %; (ii) a pigmented phenotype; (iii) urease production; and (iv) different fatty acid composition. Based on the phenotypic and genotypic results, we conclude that these strains represent a novel species, for which the name Staphylococcus borealis sp. nov. is proposed. The novel species belong to the genus Staphylococcus and is coagulase- and oxidase-negative and catalase-positive. The type strain, 51-48T, is deposited in the Culture Collection University of Gothenburg (CCUG 73747T) and in the Spanish Type Culture Collection (CECT 30011T).
Keywords: Coagulase-negative staphylococci; Staphylococcus; Staphylococcus borealis; Staphylococcus haemolyticus; urease; whole-genome sequencing.