Two Gram-positive, rod-shaped, alkali-tolerant (pH 10.5), endospore-forming bacteria (strains KSC SF8b and KSC SF10a) were isolated from surfaces within the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility, where robotic spacecraft are assembled and tested before launch, at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities, these strains were shown to belong to the family and the genus . The highest 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity was ∼97.5 %, observed between the novel strains and SF-1. Several phenotypic characteristics, such as growth with 10 % NaCl and assimilation of melibiose and lactose, were useful in the discrimination of this novel species from the closely related alkali-tolerant species and . DNA–DNA hybridization studies revealed reassociation values of less than 45 % between strain KSC SF8b and its closest genotypic neighbours. The combination of unique phenotypic and genotypic characteristics allowed the differentiation of these alkali- and halotolerant spore-forming strains from related species, and a novel species, sp. nov., is proposed. The type strain is KSC SF8b (=ATCC BAA-1493=MTCC 8908).


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