Thiomicrospira arctica sp. nov. and Thiomicrospira psychrophila sp. nov., psychrophilic, obligately chemolithoautotrophic, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria isolated from marine Arctic sediments

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2005 Mar;55(Pt 2):781-786. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.63362-0.


Two psychrophilic, chemolithoautotrophic, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria were isolated from marine Arctic sediments sampled off the coast of Svalbard with thiosulfate as the electron donor and CO(2) as carbon source. Comparative analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences suggested that the novel strains, designated SVAL-D(T) and SVAL-E(T), represent members of the genus Thiomicrospira. Further genotypic (DNA-DNA relatedness, DNA G+C content) and phenotypic characterization revealed that the strains represent members of two novel species. Both organisms are obligately autotrophic and strictly aerobic. Nitrate was not used as an electron acceptor. Chemolithoautotrophic growth was observed with thiosulfate, tetrathionate and sulfur. The temperature limits for growth of both strains were between -2 degrees C and 20.8 degrees C, with optima of 11.5-13.2 degrees C (SVAL-E(T)) and 14.6-15.4 degrees C (SVAL-D(T)), which is about 13-15 degrees C lower than the optima of all other recognized Thiomicrospira species. The maximum growth rate on thiosulfate at 14 degrees C was 0.14 h(-1) for strain SVAL-E(T) and 0.2 h(-1) for strain SVAL-D(T). Major fatty acids of SVAL-D(T) are C(16 : 1), C(18 : 0) and C(16 : 0), and those of SVAL-E(T) are C(16 : 1), C(18 : 1), C(16 : 0) and C(14 : 1). Cells of SVAL-D(T) and SVAL-E(T) are rods, like those of their closest relatives. To our knowledge the novel strains are the first psychrophilic, chemolithoautotrophic, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria so far described. The names Thiomicrospira arctica sp. nov. and Thiomicrospira psychrophila sp. nov. are proposed for SVAL-E(T) (=ATCC 700955(T)=DSM 13458(T)) and SVAL-D(T) (=ATCC 700954(T)=DSM 13453(T)), respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arctic Regions
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Cold Temperature
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • DNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Piscirickettsiaceae / classification*
  • Piscirickettsiaceae / genetics
  • Piscirickettsiaceae / growth & development*
  • Piscirickettsiaceae / isolation & purification
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Seawater / microbiology*
  • Sulfur / metabolism*


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

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ404731
  • GENBANK/AJ404732