Five strains of filamentous, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria were isolated from sulfur mats of different sulfide springs from various regions of the Northern Caucasus, Russia. A phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison showed that all of the isolates are affiliated with the filamentous, colourless, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria of the genus within the and are closely related to . All strains are capable of growing heterotrophically, lithoautotrophically with thiosulfate or sulfide as the sole energy source and mixotrophically. Strains G1, G2, P and K2 are able to fix molecular nitrogen, but strain BL is not. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR analysis was used to assess the level of genetic relationships among the isolates. The Nei and Li similarity index revealed high genetic similarity among strains G1, G2, P and K2 (above 75 %), indicating that they are closely related. In combination with physiological and morphological data, strains G1, G2, P and K2 can be considered as members of the same species. The lowest genetic similarity (approx. 20 %) was reached between strain BL and the other isolated strains. Strains BL and G1 shared 35 % DNA–DNA relatedness and showed 51 and 53 % relatedness, respectively, to ATCC 49749. On the basis of this polyphasic analysis, strains G1, G2, P and K2 represent a novel species within the genus , for which the name sp. nov. is proposed, with strain G1 (=DSM 21228 =VKM B-2520) as the type strain. In addition, strain BL represents a second novel species, sp. nov., with strain BL (=DSM 21227 =VKM B-2521) as the type strain.


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RAPD patterns of newly isolated strains. Strains K2, G1 , P and G2 showed similar patterns. The pattern of strain BL is markedly different from those of the other strains. Lanes: 1, K2; 2, BL ; 3, G1 ; 4, P; 5, G2; M, markers (sizes indicated in bp).


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