The Cheshire Salt District (UK) is home to a wide range of largely unexplored inland brine springs, whose increased salinity originates from subterranean Triassic salt rock deposits. Our study focused on the Anderton Brine Spring System, a set of pools of varying salinity which are subjected to regular salinity fluctuations depending on drainage and evaporation (recorded salinities have ranged from 1.2% to 13% NaCl). Preliminary investigation of samples obtained from one of these pools (with 4.2 % NaCl) revealed a wealth of novel isolates which were analysed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Within these isolated strains, we have detected that strain MKS20 had a 97 % similarity to its closest relative, Motilimonas eburnea, which is currently the only characterised species in a newly discovered genus of the order Alteromonadales. All reported strains within this genus have been isolated from marine environments, namely marine-sediments and the gut of a sea cucumber. MKS20 is the first strain in the genus to be reported from an inland brine spring and thus significantly extends the ecological range of the genus Motilimonas. The distinctiveness of our strain is further supported by preliminary results from polyphasic taxonomic characterisation (e.g. metabolic and enzymatic profiling). Based on these, strain MKS20 represents a putative new species within the genus for which we propose the name Motilimonas cestriensis, referring to Cheshire, the place of isolation.

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