Reclassification of Sphaerobacter thermophilus from the subclass Sphaerobacteridae in the phylum Actinobacteria to the class Thermomicrobia (emended description) in the phylum Chloroflexi (emended description)

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2004 Nov;54(Pt 6):2049-2051. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.03028-0.


Sphaerobacter thermophilus was originally classified as the deepest branching member of the phylum Actinobacteria (high-G+C, Gram-positive bacteria) based on 16S rRNA gene comparative analysis. However, the analysis lacked suitable outgroups, and additional 16S rRNA gene sequences indicate that it is most closely related to Thermomicrobium roseum, which it also resembles phenotypically. Furthermore, both species are reproducibly affiliated with the phylum Chloroflexi (green non-sulfur bacteria), despite T. roseum currently being classified in its own phylum, the Thermomicrobia. Transfer of Sphaerobacter to the class Thermomicrobia, and transfer of the class Thermomicrobia to the phylum Chloroflexi, are proposed. Descriptions for the phylum Chloroflexi and the class Thermomicrobia are emended to reflect the proposed changes in classification.

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria / classification*
  • Chloroflexi / classification*
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • DNA, Ribosomal / isolation & purification
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ420142