An atypical group of thermophilic catalase-negative strains, the ‘CH’ (Swiss) group, can be recovered from faeces of domestic cats and dogs after selection by filtration, or with the antibiotic cefoperazone. This group of strains shows no relative DNA homology with any species in rRNA superfamily VI (Vandamme , 1991, 41, 88–103) except with four thermophilic species, notably . The group is homogeneous and possesses a DNA base composition, cellular morphology at the electron microscope level and phenotypic properties characteristic of . Nonetheless it is distinct from known species of in terms of conventional bacteriological tests, total cellular protein profile, rRNA gene profile, and genomic DNA homology. On the basis of an integrated study of phenotype and genotype, we conclude that these bacteria constitute a previously undescribed species for which we propose the name sp. nov. A species-specific recombinant DNA probe was cloned from the designated type strain (NCTC 12470) for use in identification and further analysis of the epidemiology, pathogenicity and transmission of .


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