Two novel thiosulfate-oxidizing strains were isolated from sediment of the littoral zone of a freshwater lake (Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany). The new isolates, designated CS-K1 and CS-K2T, were gram-negative, slightly curved rods with pointed ends that were motile by means of single polar flagella. Both strains were obligately aerobic and grew on a variety of organic substrates, but not autotrophically. The utilization of thiosulfate led to an increase in the growth yield, indicating that these strains were able to grow chemolithoheterotrophically by oxidation of thiosulfate to sulfate. The optimum thiosulfate concentrations for growth were determined to be 10 mM for strain CS-K1 and 20 mM for strain CS-K2T. Phylogenetically, both strains were affiliated to the beta-Proteobacteria. Their characterization by a polyphasic approach resulted in the placement of both strains into a single species that is related only distantly to any known type species. Thus, the creation of a novel taxon is proposed, with the name Limnobacter thiooxidans gen. nov., sp. nov., to include the novel strains. In addition, the phylogenetic position of the chemolithoheterotrophic strain 'Thiobacillus' Q was determined.


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