The taxonomic relationships of two actinomycetes provisionally assigned to the genus Rhodococcus were determined using a polyphasic taxonomic approach. The generic assignment was confirmed by 16S rRNA gene similarity data, as the organisms, strains MTCC 1534 and W 4937T, were shown to belong to the Rhodococcus rhodochrous subclade. These organisms had phenotypic properties typical of rhodococci; they were aerobic, Gram-positive, weakly acid-fast actinomycetes that showed an elementary branching-rod–coccus growth cycle and contained meso-diaminopimelic acid, arabinose and galactose in whole-organism hydrolysates, N-glycolated muramic acid residues, dehydrogenated menaquinones with eight isoprene units as the predominant isoprenologue and mycolic acids that co-migrated with those extracted from the type strain of R. rhodochrous. The strains had identical phenotypic profiles and belong to the same genomic species, albeit one distinguished from Rhodococcus pyridinivorans, with which they formed a distinct phyletic line. They were also distinguished from representatives of all of the species classified in the R. rhodochrous 16S rRNA gene tree using a set of phenotypic features. The genotypic and phenotypic data show that the strains merit recognition as a novel species of Rhodococcus. The name proposed is Rhodococcus gordoniae sp. nov., with the type strain W 4937T (=DSM 44689T=NCTC 13296T).
Northumbria Research Link (http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/3431/1/Rhodococcus_gordoniae_paper_sent_for_publication.doc)