, Volume 96, Issue 4, pp 627-634
Date: 17 Sep 2009

Phenotypic and molecular identification of Cellulosimicrobium cellulans isolated from Antarctic snow

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We report for the first time the isolation of Cellulosimicrobium cellulans from Antarctic snow. This strain demonstrated physiological traits that were markedly different from that of the mesophilic C. cellulans type strain DSM 43879T. The dominant cell wall sugars in C. cellulans were glucose, galactose and mannitol whereas rhamnose was the only major sugar in the type strain. Cellular fatty acid patterns were dominated by 12-methyltetradecanoic acid (ai-C15:0), hexadecanoic acid (C16:0) and 14-methylhexadecanoic acid (ai-C17:0) but lacked iso fatty acids unlike the type strain. The ability of C. cellulans to survive in Antarctic snow could be due to these modified physiological properties that distinguish it from its mesophilic counterpart. Carbon utilization studies demonstrated that C. cellulans preferred complex carbon substrates over simple ones suggesting that it could play a potential role in carbon uptake in snow. Our study shows that this genus could be more cosmopolitan than hitherto thought of and is capable of living in extreme cold environments.