Identification and Characterization of 33 Bacillus cereus sensu lato Isolates from Agricultural Fields from Eleven Widely Distributed Countries by Whole Genome Sequencing

Athanasios Zervas, Marie Rønne Aggerbeck, Henrietta Allaga, Mustafa Güzel, Marc Hendriks, Illona Jonuskiene, Orsolya Kedves, Ayse Kupeli, Janja Lamovsek, Pascal Mülner, Denise Munday, Sahin Namli, Hilal Samut, Ruzica Tomicic, Zorica Tomicic, Filiz Yeni, Raida Zribi Zghal, Xingchen Zhao, Vincent Sanchis-Borja, Niels Bohse Hendriksen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The phylogeny, identification, and characterization of 33 B. cereus sensu lato isolates originating from 17 agricultural soils from 11 countries were analyzed on the basis of whole genome sequencing. Phylogenetic analyses revealed all isolates are divided into six groups, which follows the generally accepted phylogenetic division of B. cereus sensu lato isolates. Four different identification methods resulted in a variation in the identity of the isolates, as none of the isolates were identified as the same species by all four methods—only the recent identification method proposed directly reflected the phylogeny of the isolates. This points to the importance of describing the basis and method used for the identification. The presence and percent identity of the protein product of 19 genes potentially involved in pathogenicity divided the 33 isolates into groups corresponding to phylogenetic division of the isolates. This suggests that different pathotypes exist and that it is possible to differentiate between them by comparing the percent identity of proteins potentially involved in pathogenicity. This also reveals that a basic link between phylogeny and pathogenicity is likely to exist. The geographical distribution of the isolates is not random: they are distributed in relation to their division into the six phylogenetic groups, which again relates to different ecotypes with different temperature growth ranges. This means that we find it easier to analyze and understand the results obtained from the 33 B. cereus sensu lato isolates in a phylogenetic, patho-type and ecotype-oriented context, than in a context based on uncertain identification at the species level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2028
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Bacillus mosaicus
  • Bacillus mycoides
  • Bacillus thuringiensis
  • Bacillus toyonensis
  • Ecotypes
  • Geographical-distribution
  • Patho-types
  • Phylogeny


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