Two bacterial strains that are able to grow specifically on the sheath of a sheathed filamentous bacterium, Sphaerotilus natans, were isolated from soil samples. The sheath-degrading organisms, designated strains TB(T) and TK, are facultatively anaerobic and form endospores. The Gram reaction was negative at all stages of cultivation. The optimum growth temperature and pH were 30 degrees C and pH 7. The DNA G+C content was 54.0-55.8 mol%. MK-7 was the predominant menaquinone and anteiso-C15:0 was the major fatty acid. Phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rDNA sequences revealed that the isolates were closely related to Paenibacillus chondroitinus, Paenibacillus alginolyticus, Paenibacillus koreensis, Paenibacillus validus, Paenibacillus larvae subsp. larvae and P. larvae subsp. pulvifaciens. The sequences were found to contain consensus sequences characteristic of all Paenibacillus species. The isolates were able to lyse and utilize the purified sheath of S. natans as the sole carbon and energy source. Acid was not produced from common carbon sources, allowing easy distinction from other members of Paenibacillus. It is concluded that the two strains represent a novel Paenibacillus species, for which the name Paenibacillus koleovorans sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is strain TB(T) (= JCM 11186T = IAM 14926T = KCTC 13912T).


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