The goal of this project was to isolate representative Fe(III)-reducing bacteria from kaolin clays that may influence iron mineralogy in kaolin. Two novel dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacteria, strains G12(T) and G13(T), were isolated from sedimentary kaolin strata in Georgia (USA). Cells of strains G12(T) and G13(T) were motile, non-spore-forming regular rods, 1-2 mum long and 0.6 mum in diameter. Cells had one lateral flagellum. Phylogenetic analyses using the 16S rRNA gene sequence of the novel strains demonstrated their affiliation to the genus Geobacter. Strain G12(T) was most closely related to Geobacter pelophilus (94.7 %) and Geobacter chapellei (94.1 %). Strain G13(T) was most closely related to Geobacter grbiciae (95.3 %) and Geobacter metallireducens (95.1 %). Based on phylogenetic analyses and phenotypic differences between the novel isolates and other closely related species of the genus Geobacter, the isolates are proposed as representing two novel species, Geobacter argillaceus sp. nov. (type strain G12(T)=ATCC BAA-1139(T)=JCM 12999(T)) and Geobacter pickeringii sp. nov. (type strain G13(T)=ATCC BAA-1140(T)=DSM 17153(T)=JCM 13000(T)). Another isolate, strain R7(T), was derived from a primary kaolin deposit in Russia. The cells of strain R7(T) were motile, spore-forming, slightly curved rods, 0.6 x 2.0-6.0 microm in size and with up to six peritrichous flagella. Strain R7(T) was capable of reducing Fe(III) only in the presence of a fermentable substrate. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis demonstrated that this isolate is unique, showing less than 92 % similarity to bacteria of the Sporomusa-Pectinatus-Selenomomas phyletic group, including 'Anaerospora hongkongensis' (90.2 %), Acetonema longum (90.6 %), Dendrosporobacter quercicolus (90.9 %) and Anaerosinus glycerini (91.5 %). On the basis of phylogenetic analysis and physiological tests, strain R7(T) is proposed to represent a novel genus and species, Pelosinus fermentans gen. nov., sp. nov. (type strain R7(T)=DSM 17108(T)=ATCC BAA-1133(T)), in the Sporomusa-Pectinatus-Selenomonas group.