A polyphasic taxonomic study was performed on Sphingomonas sp. strain RW1T. The organism was isolated from water of the River Elbe and has been known as a potent metabolizer of dibenzo-p-dioxin and its relatives. TLC of a mild alkaline hydrolysate of extractable cellular lipids of strain RW1T and type strains of 21 Sphingomonas species gave a spot of sphingoglycolipid (SGL)-1 (glucuronosyl ceramide), which is characteristic of sphingomonads. In addition, strain RW1T and type strains of three Sphingomonas species (Sphingomonas yanoikuyae, Sphingomonas terrae and Sphingomonas macrogoltabidus) showed a second spot of SGL (SGL-1') identified as galacturonosyl ceramide. The presence of SGL-1 in cellular lipids suggested that strain RW1T is a member of the genus Sphingomonas. DNA-DNA reassociation rates between strain RW1T and each type strain of 14 Sphingomonas species including Sphingomonas paucimobilis, type species for the genus, revealed that strain RW1T is independent from these species. Results of phylogenetic analysis of 16S rDNA sequences of strain RW1T and type strains of 21 named Sphingomonas species verified that strain RW1T belongs to the genus Sphingomonas. Strain RW1T could be differentiated from named species of the genus by phenotypic characteristics and has been assigned to a new species, Sphingomonas wittichii sp. nov. The type strain is DSM 6014T (= JCM 10273T = EY 4224T). DNA G+C content is 67 mol %.


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