Four obligately anaerobic, thermophilic, sulfate-reducing bacterial strains, designated TGE-P1, TDV, TGL-LS1 and TSL-P1, were isolated from thermophilic (operated at 55 °C) methanogenic sludges from waste and wastewater treatment. The optimum temperature for growth of all the strains was in the range 55–60 °C. The four strains grew by reduction of sulfate with a limited range of electron donors, such as hydrogen, formate, pyruvate and lactate. In co-culture with the hydrogenotrophic methanogen ΔH, strains TGE-P1, TGL-LS1 and TSL-P1 were able to utilize lactate syntrophically for growth. The DNA G+C contents of all the strains were in the range 34–35 mol%. The major cellular fatty acids of the strains were iso-C, iso-C, C and anteiso-C. Phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that the strains belong to the clade of the phylum ‘’. On the basis of their physiological, chemotaxonomic and genetic properties, strains TGL-LS1 (=JCM 13214) and TSL-P1 (=JCM 13215) were classified as strains of . Two novel species of the genus are proposed to accommodate the other two isolates: sp. nov. (type strain TGE-P1 =JCM 13213 =DSM 17283) and sp. nov. (type strain TDV =JCM 13216 =DSM 17215). To examine the ecological aspects of -type cells in the sludge from which the strains were originally isolated, an oligonucleotide probe targeting 16S rRNA of all species was designed and applied to thin sections of thermophilic sludge granules. Fluorescence hybridization using the probe revealed rod- or vibrio-shaped cells as a significant population within the sludge, indicating their important role in the original ecosystem.


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