A Gram-negative and tryptophanase-positive thermophile, whose growth is dependent on co-culture with an associating Bacillus strain, had been reported and tentatively named Symbiobacterium thermophilum strain T(T). Axenic culture of strain T(T) was recently established by dialysing cultures with the supporting bacterial strains or adding their culture broth. Phylogenetic analysis of strain T(T), based on the 16S rDNA sequence, was conducted for the validation of S. thermophilum. The sequence of strain T(T) was located at the outermost position in the high-G+C Gram-positive group distinctly isolated from any other branches hitherto known. Ten sequences identical to that of strain T(T), and one sequence closely related to it, were identified for the first time from soil and compost samples. The outer membrane of strain T(T) had a three-layered structure, outside the cytoplasmic membrane, which is similar to the S-layer in the cells of members of the Bacillaceae. Chemical analysis of the cells revealed that menaquinone-6 is a major component of the quinone system. According to these results, along with several previous observations (i.e. a G+C DNA content of 65 mol% and the identification of iso-C15:0 and iso-C17:0 acids as major cellular fatty acids), the new taxon Symbiobacterium thermophilum gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is S. thermophilum strain T(T) (= IAM 14863T).


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