A novel extremely halophilic archaeon was isolated from the Dead Sea. This isolate is rod shaped and, like , requires a relatively low level of sodium ions for growth and a very high level of magnesium; optimal growth occurs in the presence of 0.6 to 1.0 M Mg. The new strain resembles members of the group in many physiological properties. However, the polar lipid composition of this organism is characteristic of representatives of the genus ; a sulfated diglycosyl diether is present, and the glycerol diether analog of phosphatidylglycerosulfate is absent. The G+C content of the DNA is 70 mol%. We found that on the basis of 16S rRNA sequence data our new isolate occupies a position intermediate between the position of the group and the position of the genus and is sufficiently different from the previously described members of the to justify classification in a new species and a new genus. We propose the name gen. nov., sp. nov. for this organism; the type strain is strain DSM 9297.


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