Cultivated members of the order Thermotogales comprise only thermophilic to hyperthermophilic anaerobic microorganisms. However, based on molecular studies, the existence of mesophilic members ("mesotoga") within this order has been postulated but has not been demonstrated by cultural approaches so far. A "mesotoga" (strain PhosAc3) that belonged to an uncultivated lineage distantly related to the thermophilic Kosmotoga genus has now been cultivated in axenic culture. It grew between 30°C and 50°C (optimum 40°C) and oxidized lactate using elemental sulphur as a terminal electron acceptor. Further genomic and physiological characterization of strain PhosAc3 will be important not only for understanding bacterial adaptation to high and moderate temperatures at small evolutionary scales, but also because "mesotoga" might play a crucial ecological role in ecosystems polluted by aromatic compounds.
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