Heterofermentative, lactic acid-producing, gram-positive, motile bacteria were isolated from the waters of Ace Lake, Antarctica. All strains produced virtually only L(+)lactic acid from D(+)glucose. D(--)-ribose was fermented to lactic, acetic, and formic acids, and ethanol. Cell walls contained meso-diaminopimaleic acid. The strains did not grow at 30 degrees C and were psychrotrophic. Whole cells contained 18:1 cis 9 as a major component of their fatty acids. At 20 degrees C, the strains grew better anaerobically than aerobically and all strains lacked catalase, oxidase and respiratory lipoquinones. DNA that coded for most of the 16S rRNA gene of one of the strains was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction and sequenced. The strain was phylogenetically most closely related to Carnobacterium mobile (Knuc = 0.0214). The isolates separated into two phenotypes. DNA/DNA homology studies determined on a representative from each phenotype showed low homology between the phenotypes (38 +/- 8%), and with Carnobacterium mobile (26 +/- 2%, 34 +/- 2%). Carnobacterium funditum sp. nov. produced acid from mannitol, trehalose, but not amygdalin. The G + C content of the DNA was 32-34%, and the Type strain is DSM 5970 (=ACAM 312). Carnobacterium alterfunditum sp. nov. produced acid weakly from amygdalin but not from mannitol trehalose. The G + C content was 33-34%, and the Type strain is DSM 5972 (=ACAM 313).