A novel obligately anaerobic, mesophilic, alkaliphilic spirochaete, strain ASpC2, was isolated from an anaerobic sediment of alkaline, hypersaline Owens Lake in California, USA. The Gram-negative cells are motile, helical in shape and 0.23×8.0–18.0 μm. Growth occurs within the following ranges: 13–41 °C, with optimal growth at 35 °C; 1–3 % (w/v) NaCl, with optimal growth at 2 % (w/v) NaCl; and pH 7.8–10.5, with optimal growth at pH 10.0. The novel isolate is strictly alkaliphilic and requires high concentrations of carbonate ions in the medium. It utilizes some sugars, some organic acids, some amino acids, Casamino acids, yeast extract and peptone. The main end products of glucose fermentation are CO and acetate. Strain ASpC2 is resistant to kanamycin and rifampicin, but sensitive to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin and tetracycline. The DNA G+C content of the new isolate is 43.8 mol%, its genome size is 6×10 Da and the melting temperature of its genomic DNA is 71 °C. DNA–DNA hybridization experiments demonstrated 46 % similarity with the phylogenetically most closely related species, Z-7591. On the basis of physiological and molecular properties, the new isolate belongs taxonomically to a novel species within the genus , for which the name sp. nov. is proposed (type strain, ASpC2=ATCC BAA-1083=JCM 12856). ASpC2 is the second strain in the genus (after SEBR 4228) that is able to use proteolysis products as the sole energy source, and additional tests have shown that other halo-alkaliphilic spirochaetes (, and ) are also able to grow on yeast extract alone; therefore, an emended description for the genus is given.


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