Burkholderia is a genus of Proteobacteria whose pathogenic members include Burkholderia mallei, responsible for glanders, a disease that occurs mostly in horses and related animals; Burkholderia pseudomallei, causative agent of melioidosis; and Burkholderia cepacia, an important pathogen of pulmonary infections in people with cystic fibrosis (CF).

The Burkholderia (previously part of Pseudomonas) genus name refers to a group of virtually ubiquitous Gram-negative, motile, obligately aerobic rod-shaped bacteria including both animal and plant pathogens, as well as some environmentally important species. In particular, B. xenovorans (previously named Pseudomonas cepacia then B. cepacia and B. fungorum) is renowned for being catalase positive (affecting patients with chronic granulomatous disease) and its ability to degrade chlororganic pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The use of Burkholderia species for agricultural purposes (such as biodegradation, biocontrol, and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria) is subject to discussions because of possible pathogenic effects in immunocompromised people (especially cystic fibrosis-sufferers), e.g., hospital-acquired infections. However, the animal pathogenic and the plant/soil species belong to different groups, and it was proposed to separate them into two different genera, to avoid misinterpretations. [1]

Due to their antibiotic resistance and the high mortality rate from their associated diseases, B. mallei and B. pseudomallei are considered to be potential biological warfare agents, targeting livestock and humans.

The genus was named after Walter H. Burkholder, plant pathologist at Cornell University.


List of species:[2]

List of Candidatus species (proposed but unculturable)

It has been suggested, but not yet formally submitted according to the Bacteriological Code, that the non-pathogenic species be transferred to a new genus, Caballeronia.[3][4]


  1. ^ Estrada-De Los Santos, P.; Vinuesa, P.; Martínez-Aguilar, L.; Hirsch, A. M.; Caballero-Mellado, J. S. (2013). "Phylogenetic Analysis of Burkholderia Species by Multilocus Sequence Analysis". Current Microbiology 67 (1): 51–60. doi:10.1007/s00284-013-0330-9. PMID 23404651.  edit
  2. ^ "List of prokaryotic names with standing in nomenclature". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Gyaneshwar, P.; Hirsch, A. M.; Moulin, L.; Chen, W. M.; Elliott, G. N.; Bontemps, C.; Estrada-De Los Santos, P.; Gross, E.; Dos Reis, F. B.; Sprent, J. I.; Young, J. P. W.; James, E. K. (2011). "Legume-Nodulating Betaproteobacteria: Diversity, Host Range, and Future Prospects". Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 24 (11): 1276. doi:10.1094/MPMI-06-11-0172.  edit
  4. ^ Zuleta, L.; Cunha, C. D.; De Carvalho, F. O.; Ciapina, L.; Souza, R.; Mercante, F. B.; De Faria, S.; Baldani, J.; Straliotto, R.; Hungria, M.; De Vasconcelos, A. (2014). "The complete genome of Burkholderia phenoliruptrix strain BR3459a, a symbiont of Mimosa flocculosa: Highlighting the coexistence of symbiotic and pathogenic genes". BMC Genomics 15: 535. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-535.  edit

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