Nomenclature for non microbiologist

George Munson george-munson at nwu.edu
Mon Apr 3 20:46:56 EST 1995

In article <3lopt4$c8r at inca01.inca.co.nz>, buzz at inca.co.nz (Vaughan Busby)
> Recently while reading a couple of parers I came across two bacteria:
Pseudomonas sp. K  and
> Pseudomonas sp. NCIMB 40135.
> What is the difference between the K and NCIMB 40135 (also came across NCIB) ?
> Is there a quick or reasonably straight forward way of cross referencing
these, to find out if they are
> the same bacteria being talked about or if they are different a
discription of each?

I'm not exactly an expert but here is my bet stab at it:

The "sp" stands for species which I always read as the authors either
didn't try or couldn't be sure as to the exact species of psuedomonad they
were working with. In their classification they only got down to as far as
Psuedomonas.  Incidently, "sp" designation props up rather often, not just
after Psuedomonas.

As to the K and NCIMB designation: They are isolate/strain designations.
For instance the K might be the the first initial of the person who found
it or it could be that they labeled their strains with letters of the
alphabet as they found them. The same also goes for NCIMB 40135. It could
also be the designation given to it by a depository who received the
strain from a researcher or even another institution.  

Technically they should be treated as different strains unless proven
otherwise (extremely difficult to be absolutely certain).  Keep in mind
that although technically different they could have the same phenotype for
the conditions that are being tested.  For example you and I could have
the same blood type but if someone were looking just at hair color we
might be classified as different. 

I know of no quick way to sort all this out. It can be very esoteric.  If
it were E. coli then I would suggest you search the database at Yale. 
Ideally the paper that wrote of the strain would have a citation and you
could trace it back through the literature.

Good luck.

George Munson
BMBCB, Northwestern University
Evanston, IL   USA   

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