Ornithogenic soil is derived from the deposition of the fecal matter of various species of birds and is a major source of nutrient input in the Antarctic marine ecosystem. A significant proportion of the microbiota of ornithogenic soil collected from an Adélie penguin colony in eastern Antarctica (Vestfold Hills ice-free zone) consisted of gram-negative, coccoid bacteria identified on the basis of their phospholipid ester-linked fatty acid and lipid class profiles as strains. Phenotypic, genotypic, and 16S ribosomal DNA phylogenetic analyses revealed that the Antarctic psychrobacters belonged to three distinct groups. Comparisons with and reference cultures isolated from fish, seawater, poultry, and human clinical specimens revealed the relationships of these groups within the genus Two of the groups represent the following two novel species: sp. nov. (type strain, strain ACAM 534) and sp. nov. (type strain, strain ACAM 304). The third group of strains included members of the previously described species (Juni and Heym 1986). In addition, (Bøvre and Henriksen 1967) is renamed comb. nov. (type strain, strain ACAM 535) on the basis of 16S ribosomal DNA phylogenetic data. In general, the genus could be differentiated from the related genera and by the fact that the members of the genus are psychrotolerant or psychrophilic and halotolerant, which reflects the ubiquitous distribution of the genus in both marine and terrestrial environments. On the basis of the results of this and previous studies, the genus is the predominant genus in ornithogenic soils in Antarctica and is diverse.


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