, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 56-61

Pyrococcus furiosus sp. nov. represents a novel genus of marine heterotrophic archaebacteria growing optimally at 100°C

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Abstract

Ten strains representing a novel genus of marine thermophilic archaebacteria growing at between 70 and 103°C with an optimal growth temperature of 100°C and a doubling time of only 37 min were isolated from geothermally heated marine sediments at the beach of Porto di Levante, Vulcano, Italy. The organisms are spherical-shaped, 0.8 to 2.5 μm in width and exhibit monopolar polytrichous flagellation. They are strictly anaerobic heterotrophs, growing on starch, maltose, peptone and complex organic substrates. Only CO2 and H2 could be detected as metabolic products, the latter being inhibitory to growth at high concentrations. Hydrogen inhibition can be prevented by the addition of So, whereupon H2S is formed in addition, most likely as the result of a “detoxification” reaction. The GC-content of the DNA of isolate Vc 1 is 38 mol%. The new genus is named Pyrococcus, the “fireball”. Type species and strain is Pyrococcus furiosus Vc 1 (DSM 3638).