A novel barophilic, hyperthermophilic archaeon was isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimney at the Myojin Knoll in the Ogasawara-Bonin Arc, Japan. The cells were found to be irregular cocci and motile with multiple polar flagella. Growth was observed between 60 and 88 degrees C (opt. 83 degrees C; 30 min doubling time), pH 4.0 and 8.0 (opt. pH 6.0), 20 and 73 g sea salts l-1 (opt. 47 g l-1) and 0.1 and 60 MPa (opt. 30 MPa). The isolate was a strictly anaerobic chemoorganotroph capable of utilizing proteinaceous substrates such as yeast extract, peptone, tryptone and casein in the presence of elemental sulfur or ferrous iron. The G + C content of the genomic DNA was 53.5 mol%. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rDNA sequences indicated that the isolate was a member of an ancient lineage of the Thermococcales that diverged prior to the formation of the two genera Thermococcus and Pyrococcus. On the basis of the physiological and molecular properties of the new isolate, the name Palaeococcus ferrophilus gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is strain DMJT (= JCM 10417) [corrected].


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