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Additional info for Methods in Microbiology, Vol. 7, Part A
B. Types of characters The sort of data available to the taxonomist are very varied. g. motile or non-motile. At the other extreme are data which are virtually measures of resemblance, such as the degree of DNA pairing. g. electrophoretic patterns), but which provide a good deal of potential information. Any characters, provided they can be recorded accurately, 11. COMPUTER TAXONOMY 37 are of value in taxonomy if they reflect intrinsic properties of the strains. Some may be too unreliable to include or (like geographical origin) be of dubious significance.
Common ones are tests for indole and H2S production, nitrate reduction, oxidase, catalase, the Methyl red and Voges Proskauer tests and hydrolysis of substrates like casein, gelatin and starch. With most of these careful standardization is important, (See Holding and Collee, this Series, Vol. ) Carbohydrate fermentations are widely used, and generally give sharp results. It should be noted that an organism that does not metabolize glucose generally will not attack other carbohydrates, because these are usually first converted into compounds closely related biochemically to glucose.
Sources ofcultures Taxonomic studies are commonly of two kinds, the study of apparently new forms, and the taxonomic revision of known forms. Many studies include both of these, and the worker will usually need to obtain some strains from other collections for comparative purposes. A below. Specialists in the various groups are also usually willing to provide strains. Those who intend to maintain their own collections are referred to the articles of Lapage et al. and of Bridson and Brecker in this Series, Vol.