A novel bacterium from the Mediterranean Sea was isolated under oligotrophic conditions at in situ temperature after prolonged continuous culture. The isolates were initially characterized by partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Similarity searches of one of the isolates, QMT2T, indicated high sequence identity to the well-characterized Rhodospirillum rubrum, [Aquaspirillum] itersonii and [Oceanospirillum] pusillum micro-organisms, which are representatives of the alpha-subclass of the Proteobacteria. The highest level of similarity of the complete 165 rRNA gene with respect to these microorganisms was 89%. Features such as the low similarities of 165 rRNA of QMT2T with its phylogenetically close neighbours, the distinct G+C content, and the differences in phenotypic features, including pigmentation, fatty acid composition, salt tolerance, the lack of bacteriochlorophyll a, and the capacity to use carbohydrates as carbon sources, are indicative of the novel nature of the isolate QMT2T among the alpha-Proteobacteria. This report describes the classification of strain QMT2T (= DSM 14000T = CECT 5390T) as a new genus and species, Thalassospira lucentensis gen. nov, sp. nov., in the family Rhodospirillaceae.


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