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Biology and taxonomy of Bacillus cereus, Bacillus anthracis, and Bacillus thuringiensis

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Three species of the Bacillus cereus group (Bacilluscereus, Bacillus anthracis, and Bacillus thuringiensis) have a marked impact on human activity. Bacillus cereus and B.anthracis are important pathogens of mammals, including humans, and B.thuringiensis is extensively used in the biological control of insects. The microbiological, biochemical, and genetic characteristics of these three species are reviewed, together with a discussion of several genomic studies conducted on strains of B.cereus group. Using bacterial systematic concepts, we speculate that to understand the taxonomic relationship within this group of bacteria, special attention should be devoted also to the ecology and the population genetics of these species.

Trois espèces du groupe des Bacillus cereus (Bacilluscereus, Bacillus anthracis et Bacillus thuringiensis) ont un impact important sur l’activité humaine. Bacilluscereus et B.anthracis sont des pathogènes importants chez les mammifères, y compris l’humain, et B.thuringiensis est largement utilisé dans la lutte biologique aux insectes. Les caractéristiques microbiologiques, biochimiques et génétiques de ces trois espèces sont passées en revue, et une discussion des nombreuses études génomiques réalisées avec les souches du groupe des B.cereus est présentée. Grâce à des concepts de systématique bactérienne, nous pensons que pour comprendre les relations taxonomiques existant à l’intérieur de ce groupe de bactéries, une attention spéciale devrait être prêtée à l’écologie et à la génétique des populations de ces espèces.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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