From Rhizobium to Sinorhizobium, from Sinorhizobium to Ensifer?
There are many publications on the bacteria that most people know as Sinorhizobium meliloti, S. fredii, and related species. The name of their genus has changed over the years, and I used Web of Science to track the changing use of the different names in the titles of published articles.
Some key dates are:
1926: the species Rhizobium meliloti proposed.
1982: the genus Ensifer proposed for some nonsymbiotic bacteria.
1984: the species Rhizobium fredii proposed.
1988: the genus Sinorhizobium proposed for R. fredii
1994: the genus Sinorhizobium relaunched to include R. meliloti
2003: the proposed amalgamation of Sinorhizobium with Ensifer (under the rules of precedence, the combined genus should be Ensifer)
Here are the figures for the number of publications each year that used each of these names. Some papers gave two alternatives, one in parentheses. I leave the interpretation of these data as an exercise for the reader. I will probably discuss them in later posts, however.