This might be due to the attribute value being binary rather than there being an extra trailing space. Lookie here:

On Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 4:21 AM, Antoine Levy-Lambert (JIRA) <jira@apache.org> wrote:
attribute type with trailing space in the description prevents apacheds from restarting
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                Key: DIRSERVER-1581
                URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/DIRSERVER-1581
... 
I had one attribute type with a trailing space in the description

attributetype ( 1.3.6.1.4.1.8104.1.1.37 NAME 'versionNumber' DESC
'versionNumber ' EQUALITY caseIgnoreMatch SUBSTR
caseIgnoreSubstringsMatch SYNTAX 1.3.6.1.4.1.1466.115.121.1.15 SINGLE-VALUE)

using directory 1.5.7 this translates in the following ldif :
 
m-description:: dmVyc2lvbk51bWJlciA=


Note the description field is being used as a binary attribute and this is probably why the error occurred on startup. Something is translating the description field into a binary value instead of a directory string if that space is present from the LDAP representation ==> ApacheDS LDIF format.

Sorry would have put this in JIRA but my damn password is not working ... have to reset.
 
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