A polyphasic study was performed on five thermophilic strains belonging to the genus Bacillus, isolated from soil of different geographical areas. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis placed these isolates in RNA group 5, with Saccharococcus caldoxylosilyticus and [Bacillus] thermoglucosidasius being the closest phylogenetic neighbours. The type species of Saccharococcus, Saccharococcus thermophilus, was only moderately related to these two species and the novel isolates. DNA-DNA hybridization studies and comparison of morphological, chemotaxonomic and phenotypic features supported the close relationship between the novel isolates and Saccharococcus caldoxylosilyticus. These data justify the reclassification of Saccharococcus caldoxylosilyticus. Following the transfer of the validly described Bacillus species of group 5 into the genus Geobacillus, the reclassification of Saccharococcus caldoxylosilyticus as Geobacillus caldoxylosilyticus comb. nov. is proposed. This species can be distinguished genomically from Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius, Geobacillus stearothermophilus, Geobacillus thermodenitrificans and Saccharococcus thermophilus by a specific PCR-RFLP assay targeting the 16S rDNA.


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