A Gram-positive, catalase-negative, facultatively anaerobic, coccus-shaped bacterium, designated IH25T, was isolated from kimchi, a traditional Korean vegetable product. Phylogenetic analysis based on almost complete 16S rDNA sequences placed the isolate in a monophyletic clade corresponding to the genus Leuconostoc. All validly described species in the genus Leuconostoc, with the exception of Leuconostoc fallax, showed high sequence identity of over 97%. The 16S rDNA sequence of strain IH25T showed the highest homology to those of Leuconostoc gelidum DSM 5578T (98.9%) and Leuconostoc citreum KCTC 3526T (98.3 %). However, DNA-DNA hybridization experiments indicated that the organism represents a novel genomic species in the genus, since the previously known leuconostocs share DNA homology with strain IH25T of less than 70%. In this work, it is proposed that isolate IH25T be classified in the genus Leuconostoc as Leuconostoc kimchii sp. nov. The type strain of Leuconostoc kimchii is IH25T (= KCTC 2386T = IMSNU 11154T).


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