Three heterotrophic bacterial strains were isolated from different locations in Puget Sound, Washington, by using biphenyl as the principal carbon source. These strains grow by using a limited number of organic compounds, including the aromatic hydrocarbons naphthalene, phenanthrene, anthracene, and toluene, as sole carbon sources. These aerobic, gram-negative rods are motile by means of single polar flagella. Their 16S rRNA sequences indicate that they are all members of the γ subdivision of the . Their closest known relatives are the genera and (genera of methane-oxidizing bacteria), uncultured sulfur-oxidizing symbionts found in marine invertebrates, and clone FL5 containing 16S ribosomal DNA amplified from an environmental source. However, the Puget Sound bacteria do not use methane or methanol as a carbon source and do not oxidize reduced sulfur compounds. Furthermore, a 16S rRNA base similarity comparison revealed that these bacteria are sufficiently different from other bacteria to justify establishment of a new genus. On the basis of the information summarized above, we describe a new genus and species, , for these bacteria; strain PS-1 is the type strain of


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