An aerobic, thermophilic, xylanolytic, spore-forming bacterium, XETP (T = type strain; P = patent strain), has been isolated from farm soil situated underneath a manure heap in northern France. Strain XETP, which stained negative in the Gram test, occurs as short rods which sometimes form chains. Its spores are ellipsoidal, central to subterminal and occur in swollen sporangia. It grows at temperatures up to 63 degrees C and in the pH range 6.5-8.5. When grown on glucose in optimal conditions, its doubling time was found to be 33 min. CO2 was observed to have a growth-stimulating effect at the start of the culture. In addition to glucose, the isolate utilizes xylose, arabinose, mannose, cellobiose, galactose, maltose, sucrose, xylan and starch. Growth is inhibited by 5% NaCl. The G+C content of strain XETP is 57.5 mol%. The 16S rDNA sequence analysis indicated that strain XETP falls into the radiation of the Bacillus-Lactobacillus-Streptococcus subdivision of the Gram-positive phylum. Its three closest phylogenetic relatives are 'Bacillus viscosus', Paenibacillus curdlanolyticus and Bacillus popilliae with identity values of 91.15, 90.94 and 90.92%, respectively. The major cellular fatty acids are 14-methyl pentadecanoic acid (16:0 iso), hexadecanoic acid (16:0) and 14-methyl hexadecanoic acid (17:0 anteiso). On the basis of 16S rRNA sequence and chemotaxonomic characteristics, the isolate is different enough for it to be considered as a member of a new genus. It is therefore proposed that this isolate represents a new genus and species: Thermobacillus xylanilyticus. Strain XETP, the type strain of Thermobacillus xylanilyticus, has been deposited in the Collection Nationale de Cultures Microbiennes (CNCM I-1017) as a patent strain.


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