Six independent isolates of an unusual black-pigmented Corynebacterium species (strains CN-1, CN-2, CN-3415, W70124, 91-0032, and 92-0360) were recovered from the human female urogenital tract. Four of the six source patients had complications of pregnancy, including spontaneous abortion, preterm labor, and low amniotic fluid volume at the time of the pathogen isolation. One isolate was recovered from a vaginal ulcer. All six strains yielded black-pigmented colonies on sheep blood agar, chocolate agar, and colistin-nalidixic acid agar after 24 to 48 h of incubation at 35°C. The dry, adherent colonies pitted the agar surface. The cells were coccobacillary to rod-shaped, catalase positive, nonmotile, and nonlipophilic. Only five of six isolates were available for characterization. Biochemical and chemotaxonomic studies revealed that the strains belong to the genus Corynebacterium but differ from known corynebacterial species. Comparative 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis showed that the strains are closely related and form a new subline within the genus Corynebacterium. We propose the name Corynebacterium nigricans sp. nov. for this group of coryneforms. The type strain of Corynebacterium nigricans is CN-1. It is deposited in the American Type Culture Collection (assigned strain number ATCC 700975) and in the Institute Pasteur collection (assigned strain number CIP 107346)
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