The (16S rDNA) gene sequences of nitrogen-fixing endospore-forming bacilli isolated from the rhizosphere of wheat and maize were determined in order to infer their phylogenetic position in the Bacillaceae. These rhizosphere strains form a monophyletic cluster with and . Two of them (RSA19 and TOD45) had previously been identified as (group 2) by phenotypic characterization (APl 50CH). Evidence for nitrogen fixation by and putative strains RSA19 and TOD45 was provided by acetylene-reduction activity, and confirmed by amplifying and sequencing a fragment (370 nt). The phylogenetic tree of -derived amino acid sequences was compared to the phylogenetic tree of sequences. All sequences formed a coherent cluster distinct from that of related nitrogen-fixing anaerobic clostridia and Gram-positive high-G+C-content frankiae. The gene was neither detected in the type strain (ATCC 4513) nor in the type strains of and . Accordingly, nitrogen fixation among aerobic endospore-forming seems to be restricted to a subset of species in the genus .


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