, Volume 171, Issue 6, pp 405-416

Selective enrichment and characterization of Roseospirillum parvum, gen. nov. and sp. nov., a new purple nonsulfur bacterium with unusual light absorption properties

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A new type of phototrophic purple bacterium, strain 930I, was isolated from a microbial mat covering intertidal sandy sediments of Great Sippewissett Salt Marsh (Woods Hole, Mass., USA). The bacterium could only be enriched at a wavelength of 932 (± 10) nm. Cells were vibrioid- to spirilloid-shaped and motile by means of bipolar monotrichous flagellation. The intracytoplasmic membranes were of the lamellar type. Photosynthetic pigments comprised bacteriochlorophyll a and the carotenoids spirilloxanthin and lycopenal. The isolated strain exhibited an unusual, long-wavelength absorption maximum at 911 nm. Sulfide or thiosulfate served as electron donor for anoxygenic phototrophic growth. During growth on sulfide, elemental sulfur globules formed outside the cells. Elemental sulfur could not be further oxidized to sulfate. In the presence of sulfide plus bicarbonate, fructose, acetate, propionate, butyrate, valerate, 2-oxoglutarate, pyruvate, lactate, malate, succinate, fumarate, malonate, casamino acids, yeast extract, L(+)-alanine, and L(+)-glutamate were assimilated. Sulfide, thiosulfate, or elemental sulfur served as a reduced sulfur source for photosynthetic growth. Maximum growth rates were obtained at pH 7.9, 30 °C, 50 μmol quanta m–2 s–1 of daylight fluorescent tubes, and a salinity of 1–2% NaCl. The strain grew microaerophilically in the dark at a partial pressure of 1 kPa O2. The DNA base composition was 71.2 mol% G + C. Sequence comparison of 16S rRNA genes indicated that the isolate is a member of the α-Proteobacteria and is most closely related to Rhodobium orientis at a similarity level of 93.5%. Because of the large phylogenetic distance to known phototrophic species of the α-Proteobacteria and of its unique absorption spectrum, strain 930I is described as a new genus and species, Roseospirillum parvum gen. nov. and sp. nov.

Received: 29 December 1998 / Accepted: 17 March 1999