Diversity and significance of Burkholderia species occupying diverse ecological niches


*For correspondence. E-mail Tom.Coenye@UGent.be; Tel. (+32) 9 2645114; Fax (+32) 9 2645092.


Members of the genus Burkholderia are versatile organisms that occupy a surprisingly wide range of ecological niches. These bacteria are exploited for biocontrol, bioremediation and plant growth promotion purposes, but safety issues regarding human infections, especially in cystic fibrosis patients, have not been solved. This minireview gives an overview of the taxonomic and ecological diversity of the genus with particular emphasis on strains belonging to the Burkholderia cepacia complex and addresses the important question whether ‘good’ and ‘bad’ strains are actually the same.