A hyperthermophilic, anaerobic, dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing, facultatively chemolithoautotrophic archaeon (strain SBH6) was isolated from a hydrothermal sample collected from the deepest of the known World Ocean hydrothermal fields, Ashadze field (1 ° 58′ 21″ N 4 ° 51′ 47″ W) on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at a depth of 4100 m. The strain was enriched using acetate as the electron donor and Fe(III) oxide as the electron acceptor. Cells of strain SBH6 were irregular cocci, 0.3–0.5 μm in diameter. The temperature range for growth was 50–85 °C, with an optimum at 81 °C. The pH range for growth was 5.0–7.5, with an optimum at pH 6.8. Growth of SBH6 was observed at NaCl concentrations ranging from 1 to 6  % (w/v) with an optimum at 2.5 % (w/v). The isolate utilized acetate, formate, pyruvate, fumarate, malate, propionate, butyrate, succinate, glycerol, stearate, palmitate, peptone and yeast extract as electron donors for Fe(III) reduction. It was also capable of growth with H as the sole electron donor, CO as a carbon source and Fe(III) as an electron acceptor without the need for organic substances. Fe(III) [in the form of poorly crystalline Fe(III) oxide or Fe(III) citrate] was the only electron acceptor that supported growth. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis revealed that the closest relative of the isolated organism was 234 (97.0 %). 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 SBH6 (=DSM 21716 =VKM B-2522).


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