We have sequenced the gene clusters for type strains of the Acinetobacter baumannii serotyping scheme developed in the 1990s, and used the sequences to better understand diversity in surface polysaccharides of the genus. We obtained genome sequences for 27 available serovar type strains, and identified 25 polysaccharide gene cluster sequences. There are structures for 12 of these polysaccharides, and in general the genes present are appropriate to the structure where known. This greatly facilitates interpretation. We also find 53 different glycosyltransferase genes, and for 7 strains can provisionally allocate specific genes to all linkages. We identified primers that will distinguish the 25 sequence forms by PCR or microarray, or alternatively the genes can be used to determine serotype by “molecular serology”. We applied the latter to 190 Acinetobacter genome-derived gene-clusters, and found 76 that have one of the 25 gene-cluster forms. We also found novel gene clusters and added 52 new gene-cluster sequence forms with different wzy genes and different gene contents. Altogether, the strains that have one of the original 25 sequence forms include 98 A. baumannii (24 from our strains) and 5 A. nosocomialis (3 from our strains), whereas 32 genomes from 12 species other than A. baumannii or A. nosocomialis, all have new sequence forms. One of the 25 serovar type sequences is found to be in European clone I (EC I), 2 are in EC II but none in EC III. The public genome strains add an additional 52 new sequence forms, and also bring the number found in EC I to 5, in EC II to 9 and in EC III to 2.
We report the draft genome sequence of Acinetobacter venetianus strain RAG-1T, which is able to degrade hydrocarbons and to synthesize a powerful biosurfactant (emulsan) that can be employed for oil removal and as an adjuvant for vaccine delivery. The genome sequence of A. venetianus RAG-1T might be useful for bioremediation and/or clinical purposes.
Acinetobacter baumannii can colonize body surfaces of hospitalized patients. From these sites, invasion into the host and spread to other patients and the hospital environment may occur. The eradication of the organism from the patient's skin is an important infection control strategy during epidemic and endemic episodes. In this study, a three-dimensional (3D), air-exposed human epidermal skin equivalent was exploited to study Acinetobacter skin colonization. We characterized the adherence of A. baumannii ATCC 19606T and Acinetobacter junii RUH2228T to and biofilm formation on the skin equivalent and the responses to these bacteria. Furthermore, we assessed the ability of the disinfectant chlorhexidine to decolonize the skin equivalents. The results revealed that both strains replicated on the stratum corneum for up to 72 h but did not invade the epidermis. A. baumannii, in contrast to A. junii, formed large biofilms on the stratum corneum. Bacterial colonization did not affect keratinocyte activation, proliferation, or differentiation, nor did it induce a strong inflammatory response. Disinfection with chlorhexidine solution resulted in complete eradication of A. baumannii from the skin, without detrimental effects. This 3D model is a promising tool to study skin colonization and to evaluate the effects of novel disinfectant and antimicrobial strategies.
An understanding of why certain Acinetobacter species are more successful in causing nosocomial infections, transmission and epidemic spread in healthcare institutions compared with other species is lacking. We used genomic, phenotypic and virulence studies to identify differences between Acinetobacter species. Fourteen strains representing nine species were examined. Genomic analysis of six strains showed that the A. baumannii core genome contains many genes important for diverse metabolism and survival in the host. Most of the A. baumannii core genes were also present in one or more of the less clinically successful species. In contrast, when the accessory genome of an individual A. baumannii strain was compared to a strain of a less successful species (A. calcoaceticus RUH2202), many operons with putative virulence function were found to be present only in the A. baumannii strain, including the csu operon, the acinetobactin chromosomal cluster, and bacterial defence mechanisms. Phenotype microarray analysis showed that compared to A. calcoaceticus (RUH2202), A. baumannii ATCC 19606T was able to utilise nitrogen sources more effectively and was more tolerant to pH, osmotic and antimicrobial stress. Virulence differences were also observed, with A. baumannii ATCC 19606T, A. pittii SH024, and A. nosocomialis RUH2624 persisting and forming larger biofilms on human skin than A. calcoaceticus. A. baumannii ATCC 19606T and A. pittii SH024 were also able to survive in a murine thigh infection model, whereas the other two species were eradicated. The current study provides important insights into the elucidation of differences in clinical relevance among Acinetobacter species.
Despite many reports documenting its epidemicity, little is known on the interaction of Acinetobacter baumannii with its host. To deepen our insight into this relationship, we studied persistence of and host response to different A. baumannii strains including representatives of the European (EU) clones I–III in a mouse pneumonia model. Neutropenic mice were inoculated intratracheally with five A. baumannii strains and an A. junii strain and at several days morbidity, mortality, bacterial counts, airway inflammation, and chemo- and cytokine production in lungs and blood were determined. A. baumannii RUH875 and RUH134 (EU clone I and II, respectively) and sporadic strain LUH8326 resulted in high morbidity/mortality, whereas A. baumannii LUH5875 (EU clone III, which is less widespread than clone I and II) caused less symptoms. A. baumannii type strain RUH3023T and A. junii LUH5851 did not cause disease. All strains, except A. baumannii RUH3023T and A. junii LUH5851, survived and multiplied in the lungs for several days. Morbidity and mortality were associated with the severity of lung pathology and a specific immune response characterized by low levels of anti-inflammatory (IL-10) and specific pro-inflammatory (IL-12p40 and IL-23) cytokines at the first day of infection. Altogether, a striking difference in behaviour among the A. baumannii strains was observed with the clone I and II strains being most virulent, whereas the A. baumannii type strain, which is frequently used in virulence studies appeared harmless.
To assess the diversity of AbaR genomic resistance islands in Acinetobacter baumannii European clone I (MLST clonal complex 1), we investigated 26 multidrug-resistant strains of this major clone isolated from hospitals in 21 cities of 10 European countries between 1984 and 2005. Each strain harbored an AbaR structure integrated at the same position in the chromosomal ATPase gene. AbaR3, including four subtypes based on variations in class 1 integron cassettes, and AbaR10 were found in 15 and 2 strains, respectively, whereas a new, unique AbaR variant was discovered in each of the other 9 strains. These new variants, designated AbaR11 to AbaR19 (19.8 kb to 57.5 kb), seem to be truncated derivatives of AbaR3, likely resulting from the deletions of its internal parts mediated by either IS26 elements (AbaR12 to AbaR19) or homologous recombination (AbaR11). AbaR3 was detected in all 10 strains isolated in 1984 to 1991, while AbaR11 to AbaR19 were carried only by strains isolated since 1997. Our results and those from previous publications suggest that AbaR3 is the original form of AbaR in European clone I, which may have provided strains of the lineage with a selective advantage facilitating their spread in European hospitals in the 1980s or before.
An increase in prevalence of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter spp. in hospitalized animals was observed at the Justus-Liebig-University (Germany). Genotypic analysis of 56 isolates during 2000–2008 showed 3 clusters that corresponded to European clones I–III. Results indicate spread of genotypically related strains within and among veterinary clinics in Germany.
zoonoses; Acinetobacter baumannii; animals; veterinary clinics; antimicrobial susceptibility; antimicrobial resistance; DNA fingerprinting; amplified fragment length polymorphism; pulsed-field gel electrophoresis; PFGE; clones; Germany; dispatch
The epidemiology of Acinetobacter baumannii emerging in combat casualties is poorly understood. We analyzed 65 (54 nonreplicate) Acinetobacter isolates from 48 patients (46 hospitalized and 2 outpatient trainees entering the military) from October 2004 to October 2005 for genotypic similarities, time-space relatedness, and antibiotic susceptibility. Clinical and surveillance cultures were compared by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) genomic fingerprinting to each other and to strains of a reference database. Antibiotic susceptibility was determined, and multiplex PCR was performed for OXA-23-like, -24-like, -51-like, and -58-like carbapenemases. Records were reviewed for overlapping hospital stays of the most frequent genotypes, and risk ratios were calculated for any association of genotype with severity of Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score or injury severity score (ISS) and previous antibiotic use. Nineteen genotypes were identified; two predominated, one consistent with an emerging novel international clone and the other unique to our database. Both predominant genotypes were carbapenem resistant, were present at another hospital before patients' admission to our facility, and were associated with higher APACHE II scores, higher ISSs, and previous carbapenem antibiotics in comparison with other genotypes. One predominated in wound and respiratory isolates, and the other predominated in wound and skin surveillance samples. Several other genotypes were identified as European clones I to III. Acinetobacter genotypes from recruits upon entry to the military, unlike those in hospitalized patients, did not include carbapenem-resistant genotypes. Acinetobacter species isolated from battlefield casualties are diverse, including genotypes belonging to European clones I to III. Two carbapenem-resistant genotypes were epidemic, one of which appeared to belong to a novel international clone.
The dramatic increase in antibiotic resistance and the recent manifestation in war trauma patients underscore the threat of Acinetobacter baumannii as a nosocomial pathogen. Despite numerous reports documenting its epidemicity, little is known about the pathogenicity of A. baumannii. The aim of this study was to obtain insight into the factors that might explain the clinical success of A. baumannii.
We compared biofilm formation, adherence to and inflammatory cytokine induction by human cells for a large panel of well-described strains of A. baumannii and compared these features to that of other, clinically less relevant Acinetobacter species. Results revealed that biofilm formation and adherence to airway epithelial cells varied widely within the various species, but did not differ among the species. However, airway epithelial cells and cultured human macrophages produced significantly less inflammatory cytokines upon exposure to A. baumannii strains than to strains of A. junii, a species infrequently causing infection.
The induction of a weak inflammatory response may provide a clue to the persistence of A. baumannii in patients.
Outbreaks of hospital infections caused by multidrug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strains are of increasing concern worldwide. Although it has been reported that particular outbreak strains are geographically widespread, little is known about the diversity and phylogenetic relatedness of A. baumannii clonal groups. Sequencing of internal portions of seven housekeeping genes (total 2,976 nt) was performed in 154 A. baumannii strains covering the breadth of known diversity and including representatives of previously recognized international clones, and in 19 representatives of other Acinetobacter species. Restricted amounts of diversity and a star-like phylogeny reveal that A. baumannii is a genetically compact species that suffered a severe bottleneck in the recent past, possibly linked to a restricted ecological niche. A. baumannii is neatly demarcated from its closest relative (genomic species 13TU) and other Acinetobacter species. Multilocus sequence typing analysis demonstrated that the previously recognized international clones I to III correspond to three clonal complexes, each made of a central, predominant genotype and few single locus variants, a hallmark of recent clonal expansion. Whereas antimicrobial resistance was almost universal among isolates of these and a novel international clone (ST15), isolates of the other genotypes were mostly susceptible. This dichotomy indicates that antimicrobial resistance is a major selective advantage that drives the ongoing rapid clonal expansion of these highly problematic agents of nosocomial infections.
Prokaryotic plasmids have a dual importance in the microbial world: first they have a great impact on the metabolic functions of the host cell, providing additional traits that can be accumulated in the cell without altering the gene content of the bacterial chromosome. Additionally and/or alternatively, from a genome perspective, plasmids can provide a basis for genomic rearrangements via homologous recombination and so they can facilitate the loss or acquisition of genes during these events, which eventually may lead to horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Given their importance for conferring adaptive traits to the host organisms, the interest in plasmid sequencing is growing and now many complete plasmid sequences are available online.
By using the newly developed Blast2Network bioinformatic tool, a comparative analysis was performed on the plasmid and chromosome sequence data available for bacteria belonging to the genus Acinetobacter, an ubiquitous and clinically important group of γ-proteobacteria. Data obtained showed that, although most of the plasmids lack mobilization and transfer functions, they have probably a long history of rearrangements with other plasmids and with chromosomes. Indeed, traces of transfers between different species can be disclosed.
We show that, by combining plasmid and chromosome similarity, identity based, network analysis, an evolutionary scenario can be described even for highly mobile genetic elements that lack extensively shared genes. In particular we found that transposases and selective pressure for mercury resistance seem to have played a pivotal role in plasmid evolution in Acinetobacter genomes sequenced so far.
Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, A. baumannii, Acinetobacter genomic species (gen. sp.) 3, and Acinetobacter gen. sp. 13TU, which are included in the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex, are difficult to distinguish by phenotypic methods. An array with six oligonucleotide probes based on the 16S-23S rRNA gene intergenic spacer (ITS) region was developed to differentiate species in the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex. Validation of the array with a reference collection of 52 strains of the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex and 137 strains of other species resulted in an identification sensitivity and specificity of 100%. By using the array, the species distribution of 291 isolates of the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex from patients with bacteremia were determined to be A. baumannii (221 strains [75.9%]), Acinetobacter gen. sp. 3 (67 strains [23.0%]), Acinetobacter gen. sp. 13TU (2 strains [0.7%]), and unidentified Acinetobacter sp. (1 strain [0.3%]). The identification accuracy of the array for 12 randomly selected isolates from patients with bacteremia was further confirmed by sequence analyses of the ITS region and the 16S rRNA gene. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of the 291 isolates from patients with bacteremia revealed that A. baumannii strains were less susceptible to antimicrobial agents than Acinetobacter gen. sp. 3. All Acinetobacter gen. sp. 3 strains were susceptible to ampicillin-sulbactam, imipenem, and meropenem; but only 67.4%, 90%, and 86% of the A. baumannii strains were susceptible to ampicillin-sulbactam, imipenem, and meropenem, respectively. The observed significant variations in antimicrobial susceptibility among different species in the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex emphasize that the differentiation of species within the complex is relevant from a clinical-epidemiological point of view.
In the last few years, phenotypically carbapenem resistant Acinetobacter strains have been identified throughout the world, including in many of the hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) of Australia. Genotyping of Australian ICU outbreak-associated isolates by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of whole genomic DNA indicated that different strains were cocirculating within one hospital. The carbapenem-resistant phenotype of these and other Australian isolates was found to be due to carbapenem-hydrolyzing activity associated with the presence of the blaOXA-23 gene. In all resistant strains examined, the blaOXA-23 gene was adjacent to the insertion sequence ISAba1 in a structure that has been found in Acinetobacter baumannii strains of a similar phenotype from around the world; blaOXA-51-like genes were also found in all A. baumannii strains but were not consistently associated with ISAba1, which is believed to provide the promoter required for expression of linked antibiotic resistance genes. Most isolates were also found to contain additional antibiotic resistance genes within the cassette arrays of class 1 integrons. The same cassette arrays, in addition to the ISAba1-blaOXA-23 structure, were found within unrelated strains, but no common plasmid carrying these accessory genetic elements could be identified. It therefore appears that antibiotic resistance genes are readily exchanged between cocirculating strains in epidemics of phenotypically indistinguishable organisms. Epidemiological investigation of major outbreaks should include whole-genome typing as well as analysis of potentially transmissible resistance genes and their vehicles.
We describe a case of bacteremia due to an as yet unclassified Acinetobacter genomic species 17-like strain. The recognition of this microorganism as non-Acinetobacter baumannii may have important epidemiological implications, as it relieves the hospital of the implementation of barrier precautions for patients infected or colonized as may be necessary with a multiresistant A. baumannii epidemic.
Genotypic and phenotypic analyses were carried out to clarify the taxonomic position of the naturally transformable Acinetobacter sp. strain ADP1. Transfer tDNA-PCR fingerprinting, 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, and selective restriction fragment amplification (amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis) indicate that strain ADP1 and a second transformable strain, designated 93A2, are members of the newly described species Acinetobacter baylyi. Transformation assays demonstrate that the A. baylyi type strain B2T and two other originally identified members of the species (C5 and A7) also have the ability to undergo natural transformation at high frequencies, confirming that these five strains belong to a separate species of the genus Acinetobacter, characterized by the high transformability of its strains that have been cultured thus far.
A standard procedure for pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of macrorestriction fragments of Acinetobacter baumannii was set up and validated for its interlaboratory reproducibility and its potential for use in the construction of an Internet-based database for international monitoring of epidemic strains. The PFGE fingerprints of strains were generated at three different laboratories with ApaI as the restriction enzyme and by a rigorously standardized procedure. The results were analyzed at the respective laboratories and also centrally at a national reference institute. In the first phase of the study, 20 A. baumannii strains, including 3 isolates each from three well-characterized hospital outbreaks and 11 sporadic strains, were distributed blindly to the participating laboratories. The local groupings of the isolates in each participating laboratory were identical and allowed the identification of the epidemiologically related isolates as belonging to three clusters and identified all unrelated strains as distinct. Central pattern analysis by using the band-based Dice coefficient and the unweighted pair group method with mathematical averaging as the clustering algorithm showed 95% matching of the outbreak strains processed at each local laboratory and 87% matching of the corresponding strains if they were processed at different laboratories. In the second phase of the study, 30 A. baumannii isolates representing 10 hospital outbreaks from different parts of Europe (3 isolates per outbreak) were blindly distributed to the three laboratories, so that each laboratory investigated 10 epidemiologically independent outbreak isolates. Central computer-assisted cluster analysis correctly identified the isolates according to their corresponding outbreak at an 87% clustering threshold. In conclusion, the standard procedure enabled us to generate PFGE fingerprints of epidemiologically related A. baumannii strains at different locations with sufficient interlaboratory reproducibility to set up an electronic database to monitor the geographic spread of epidemic strains.
The species Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, A. baumannii, genomic species 3, and genomic species 13TU included in the Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-Acinetobacter baumannii complex are genetically highly related and difficult to distinguish phenotypically. Except for A. calcoaceticus, they are all important nosocomial species. In the present study, the usefulness of the 16S-23S rRNA gene intergenic spacer (ITS) sequence for the differentiation of (genomic) species in the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex was evaluated. The ITSs of 11 reference strains of the complex and 17 strains of other (genomic) species of Acinetobacter were sequenced. The ITS lengths (607 to 638 bp) and sequences were highly conserved for strains within the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex. Intraspecies ITS sequence similarities ranged from 0.99 to 1.0, whereas interspecies similarities varied from 0.86 to 0.92. By using these criteria, 79 clinical isolates identified as A. calcoaceticus (18 isolates) or A. baumannii (61 isolates) with the API 20 NE system (bioMérieux Vitek, Marcy l'Etoile, France) were identified as A. baumannii (46 isolates), genomic species 3 (19 isolates), and genomic species 13TU (11 isolates) by ITS sequencing. An identification rate of 96.2% (76 of 79 isolates) was obtained by using ITS sequence analysis for identification of isolates in the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex, and the accuracy of the method was confirmed for a subset of strains by amplified rRNA gene restriction analysis and genomic DNA analysis by AFLP analysis by using libraries of profiles of reference strains. In conclusion, ITS sequence-based identification is reliable and provides a promising tool for elucidation of the clinical significance of the different species of the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex.
The lactoferrin-derived peptide hLF(1-11), but not its control peptide, was highly effective against five multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strains in vitro (3 to 4 log reduction) and against four of these strains in an experimental infection in mice (2 to 3 log reduction). Therefore, this peptide is a promising candidate as a novel agent against infections with multidrug-resistant A. baumannii.
Clinical Clostridium difficile isolates of patients with diarrhea or pseudomembranous colitis usually produce both toxin A and toxin B, but an increasing number of reports mention infections due to toxin A-negative, toxin B-positive (A−/B+) strains. Thirty-nine clinical toxin A−/B+ isolates, and 12 other unrelated isolates were obtained from Canada, the United States, Poland, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and The Netherlands. The isolates were investigated by high-resolution genetic fingerprinting by use of amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and two well-described PCR ribotyping methods. Furthermore, the toxin profile and clindamycin resistance were determined. Reference strains of C. difficile representing 30 known serogroups were also included in the analysis. AFLP discriminated 29 types among the reference strains, whereas the two PCR ribotyping methods distinguished 25 and 26 types. The discriminatory power of AFLP and PCR ribotyping among 12 different unrelated isolates was similar. Typing of 39 toxin A−/B+ isolates revealed 2 AFLP types and 2 and 3 PCR ribotypes. Of 39 toxin A−/B+ isolates, 37 had PCR ribotype 017/20 and AFLP type 20 (95%). A deletion of 1.8 kb was seen in 38 isolates, and 1 isolate had a deletion of approximately 1.7 kb in the tcdA gene, which encodes toxin A. Clindamycin resistance encoded by the erm(B) gene was found in 33 of 39 toxin A−/B+ isolates, and in 2 of the 12 unrelated isolates (P < 0.001, chi-square test). We conclude that clindamycin-resistant C. difficile toxin A−/B+ strain (PCR ribotype 017/20, AFLP type 20, serogroup F) has a clonal worldwide spread.
Acinetobacter baumannii isolates collected between 1999 and 2001 from 46 United Kingdom hospitals were compared with previously identified northern European genotypes by amplified-fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. Two predominant northern European genotypes associated with outbreaks in the mid-1980s had been superseded by new outbreak-associated genotypes.
The unambiguous identification of Acinetobacter strains, particularly those belonging to the Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-Acinetobacter baumannii complex, is often hindered by their close geno- and phenotypic relationships. In this study, monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against the O antigens of the lipopolysaccharides from strains belonging to the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex were generated after the immunization of mice with heat-killed bacteria and shown by enzyme immunoassays and Western blotting to be specific for their homologous antigens. Since the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex comprises the most clinically relevant species, the MAbs were subsequently tested in dot and Western blots with proteinase K-treated lysates from a large collection of Acinetobacter isolates (n = 631) to determine whether the antibodies could be used for the reliable identification of strains from this complex. Reactivity was observed with 273 of the 504 isolates (54%) from the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex which were included in this study. Isolates which reacted positively did so with only one antibody; no reactivity was observed with isolates not belonging to the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex (n = 127). To identify additional putative O serotypes, isolates from the A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex which showed no MAb reactivity were subjected to a method that enables the detection of lipid A moieties in lipopolysaccharides with a specific MAb on Western blots following acidic treatment of the membrane. By this method, additional serotypes were indeed identified, thus indicating which strains to select for future immunizations. This study contributes to the completion of a serotype-based identification scheme for Acinetobacter species, in particular, those which are presently of the most clinical importance.
O-antigen-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are currently being generated to develop an O-serotyping scheme for the genus Acinetobacter and to provide potent tools to study the diversity of O-antigens among Acinetobacter strains. In this report, Acinetobacter baumannii strains from the Czech Republic and from two clonal groups identified in Northwestern Europe (termed clones I and II) were investigated for their reactivity with a panel of O-antigen-specific MAbs generated against Acinetobacter strains from various species. The bacteria were characterized for their ribotype, biotype, and antibiotic susceptibility and the presence of the 8.7-kb plasmid pAN1. By using the combination of these typing profiles, the Czech strains could be classified into four previously defined groups (A. Nemec, L. Janda, O. Melter, and L. Dijkshoorn, J. Med. Microbiol. 48:287–296, 1999): two relatively homogeneous groups of multiresistant strains (termed groups A and B), a heterogeneous group of other multiresistant strains, and a group of susceptible strains. O-antigen reactivity was observed primarily with MAbs generated against Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Acinetobacter baumannii strains. A comparison of reaction patterns confirmed the previously hypothesized clonal relationship between group A and clone I strains, which are also similar in other properties. The results show that there is limited O-antigen variability among strains with similar geno- and phenotypic characteristics and are suggestive of a high prevalence of certain A. baumannii serotypes in the clinical environment. It is also shown that O-antigen-specific MAbs are useful for the follow-up of strains causing outbreaks in hospitals.
Acinetobacter baumannii was isolated from tips clipped from seven intravenous jugular catheters collected from horses in the Ghent University equine clinic. They originated from seven different horses. Three of the seven showed evidence of local infection.
Genomic species diversity among 147 Acinetobacter clinical isolates not belonging to the A. calcoaceticus- A. baumannii (ACB) complex was investigated by phenotypic and genotypic identification methods. The isolates were obtained between 1991 and 1999 from numerous diagnostic laboratories in the Czech Republic and were studied by numerical probabilistic identification using two biochemical frequency matrices and amplified rDNA restriction analysis (ARDRA). Their final identification was derived from the combined phenotypic and ARDRA results. In total, 102 isolates were unambiguously (n = 89) or presumptively (n = 13) identified as A. lwoffii (n = 63), genomic species 13BJ/14TU (n = 9), A. johnsonii (n = 7), A. haemolyticus (n = 6), A. junii (n = 5), and other genomic species (n < 5 isolates each). Forty-five isolates could not be identified as belonging to any described species. Among the unidentified isolates two large groups of non-glucose-acidifying, nonhemolytic, and non-gelatinase-producing isolates were distinguished. These groups, designated phenon 1 (n = 17) and phenon 2 (n = 15), had distinctive phenotypic features and novel ARDRA profiles, which suggests that they represent hitherto undescribed Acinetobacter species. Phenon 2 included mainly clinically insignificant isolates from outpatients, while phenon 1 comprised clinically relevant isolates mostly from the blood of hospitalized patients, and its precise taxonomic definition may therefore be of medical importance. Overall, the development of practical methods for identification required for the elucidation of the biological significance of the (genomic) species within the genus Acinetobacter remains a challenging task.