A thermophilic, anaerobic, chemolithoautotrophic bacterium (designated strain SL50) was isolated from a hydrothermal sample collected at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from the deepest of the known World ocean hydrothermal fields, Ashadze field (1 ° 58′ 21″ N 4 ° 51′ 47″ W) at a depth of 4100 m. Cells of strain SL50 were motile, straight to bent rods with one polar flagellum, 0.5–0.6 μm in width and 3.0–3.5 μm in length. The temperature range for growth was 25–75 °C, with an optimum at 60 °C. The pH range for growth was 5.0–7.5, with an optimum at pH 6.5. Growth of strain SL50 was observed at NaCl concentrations ranging from 1.0 to 6.0 % (w/v) with an optimum at 2.5 % (w/v). The generation time under optimal growth conditions for strain SL50 was 60 min. Strain SL50 used molecular hydrogen, acetate, lactate, succinate, pyruvate and complex proteinaceous compounds as electron donors, and Fe(III), Mn(IV), nitrate or elemental sulfur as electron acceptors. The G+C content of the DNA of strain SL50 was 28.7 mol%. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis revealed that the closest relative of strain SL50 was JR (95.5 % similarity). On the basis of its physiological properties and phylogenetic analyses, the isolate is considered to represent a novel species, for which the name sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is SL50 (=DSM 21529=VKPM B-10097). sp. nov. is the first described deep-sea bacterium capable of chemolithoautotrophic growth using molecular hydrogen as an electron donor and ferric iron as electron acceptor and CO as the carbon source.


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