Minimal standards for the description of new cultivable strains that represent novel genera and species belonging to the genera Bifidobacterium , Lactobacillus and related genera are proposed in accordance with Recommendation 30b of the Bacteriological Code (1990 Revision): the description of novel species should be based on phenotypic, genotypic and ecological characteristics to ensure a rich polyphasic characterization. Concerning genotypic characterization, in addition to DNA G+C content (mol%) data, the description should be based on DNA–DNA hybridization (DDH), 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities and at least two housekeeping gene (e.g. hsp60 and recA) sequence similarities. DDH might not be needed if the 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity to the closest known species is lower than 97 %. This proposal has been endorsed by members of the Subcommittee on the Taxonomy of Bifidobacterium , Lactobacillus and related organisms of the International Committee on the Systematics of Prokaryotes.
According to the current versions of Rule 10a and Rule 12c of the International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes, names of a genus or subgenus and specific epithets may be taken from any source and may even be composed in an arbitrary manner. Based on these rules, names may be composed of any word or any combination of elements derived from any language with a Latin ending. We propose modifying these rules by adding the text, currently part of Recommendation 6, according to which words from languages other than Latin or Greek should be avoided as long as equivalents exist in Latin or Greek or can be constructed by combining word elements from these two languages. We also propose modification of Rule 6 by adopting some of the current paragraphs of Recommendation 6 to become part of the Rule.