Catalase-negative spore-forming lactic acid bacteria were isolated from soil samples and fermentation starters for Asian traditional alcoholic beverages. The isolates were characterized by determining morphological, biochemical, physiological, and chemotaxonomic properties and were found to be members of the genus . Twelve isolates and some authentic strains belonging to this genus were used in DNA base composition and DNA relatedness studies, and the results revealed that the strains tested could be divided into six groups which correlated with the phenotypic characteristics. One of the groups corresponded to the previously described species . In addition, we propose the following four new species and two new subspecies for the remaining five groups: subsp. sp. nov., subsp. nov. (type strain, M-114 [= JCM 3514]), subsp. subsp. nov. (type strain, M-17 [= JCM 3417]), sp. nov. (type strain, M-116 [= JCM 3516]), sp. nov. (type strain, M-19 [= JCM 3419]), and sp. nov. (type strain, Xl-1 [= JCM 9690]).


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