A new gram-positive, facultative anaerobic, microaerophilic bacterium, designated strain M5T, was isolated from a decantation reservoir of olive mill wastewater. The cells were rod-shaped, non-motile, non-spore-forming and catalase-negative. Growth occurred at pH ranging from 4.5 to 9.5, with optimum growth at 7.0. The optimum temperature for growth was around 30 degrees C. Although growth occurred under anaerobic and aerobic conditions, the optimum O2 concentration for growth was determined as 5% in the gas phase of the culture. During anaerobic growth, glucose or lactate were mainly fermented to propionate, acetate and CO2. In the presence of O2 (more than 2%), glucose was oxidized completely to CO2. The G+C content of the DNA was 67.7+/-0.6 mol% and 16S rRNA gene analysis revealed that the new isolate belonged to the cluster of 'dairy' propionibacteria, Propionibacterium acidipropionici being its closest phylogenic relative (97.5% similarity). However, the level of DNA relatedness between strain M5T and P. acidipropionici was 56.2%. Consequently, both the phenotypic (range of substrates used) and genotypic characteristics of strain M5T allow it to be assigned as a new species of the genus Propionibacterium, Propionibacterium microaerophilum sp. nov. The type strain is strain M5T (= CNCM I-2360T = DSM 13435T).


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