A novel bacterial strain (171544T) was recently isolated from silage and was classified in the genus Bacillus by 16S rDNA sequence analysis. Additional silage samples have been investigated in the present study and four organisms resembling strain 171544T were isolated. Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of these bacteria showed that they constitute a new species of the genus Bacillus. This taxon was positioned in the family Bacillaceae on the basis of evolutionary distance trees using 16S rDNA sequences. Bacillus circulans, Bacillus firmus and Bacillus benzoevorans were the most closely related species with 165 rDNA similarities of 97.2, 96.3 and 95.9%, respectively. All five silage isolates shared a higher order structural feature in the 3' region of the 16S rRNA gene comprising an extension to helix 49 of 24 bp and highly similar random amplified polymorphic DNA patterns that distinguished them from the type strains of B. circulans and B. firmus. Moreover, they possessed a unique pattern of phenotypic features including subterminally or terminally located endospores which distinctly swelled the sporangium, strictly aerobic metabolism but with the ability to utilize nitrate as a terminal electron acceptor under anaerobic conditions, and hydrolysis of casein but not starch. The name Bacillus siralis is therefore proposed for this new taxon. The type strain of B. siralis is strain 171544T (= NCIMB 13601T = CIP 106295T).


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