Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The taxonomy of Enterobacter sakazakii: proposal of a new genus Cronobacter gen. nov. and descriptions of Cronobacter sakazakii comb. nov. Cronobacter sakazakii subsp. sakazakii, comb. nov., Cronobacter sakazakii subsp. malonaticus subsp. nov., Cronobacter turicensis sp. nov., Cronobacter muytjensii sp. nov., Cronobacter dublinensis sp. nov. and Cronobacter genomospecies 1

Carol Iversen12, Angelika Lehner2, Niall Mullane3, Eva Bidlas1, Ilse Cleenwerck4, John Marugg1, Séamus Fanning3, Roger Stephan2 and Han Joosten1*

Author Affiliations

1 Quality and Safety Department, Nestlé Research Centre, Vers-Chez-les-Blanc, CH-1000 Lausanne, Switzerland

2 Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, CH-8057, Zurich, Switzerland

3 Centre for Food Safety, UCD Veterinary Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

4 BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection, Laboratorium voor Microbiologie – Universiteit Gent, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, B-9000 Gent, Belgium

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2007, 7:64  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-7-64

Published: 17 April 2007



Enterobacter sakazakii is an opportunistic pathogen that can cause infections such as necrotizing enterocolitis, bacteraemia, meningitis and brain abscess/lesions. When the species was defined in 1980, 15 biogroups were described and it was suggested that these could represent multiple species. In this study the taxonomic relationship of strains described as E. sakazakii was further investigated.


Strains identified as E. sakazakii were divided into separate groups on the basis of f-AFLP fingerprints, ribopatterns and full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences. DNA-DNA hybridizations revealed five genomospecies. The phenotypic profiles of the genomospecies were determined and biochemical markers identified.


This study clarifies the taxonomy of E. sakazakii and proposes a reclassification of these organisms.