A thermophilic, arsenate resistant bacterial strain was isolated from a geothermal field located in the area surrounding Monterotondo (Tuscany, Italy). Based on 16S rRNA gene analysis and recN comparisons the strain was identified as Geobacillus kaustophilus. Cells of the strain, designated A1, were rod-shaped, 2-3 μm long and reacted negatively to Gram staining, despite its taxonomic classification as a Gram positive microorganism. Strain A1 is a thermophilic spore-forming bacterium, and grows optimally at pH 6.5 and 55 °C. An arsenate MIC of 80 mM was determined for strain A1, and the close relative G. kaustophilus DSM 7263(T) showed similar levels of arsenate resistance. These observations were consistent with the presence of arsenic detoxification genes in the genome of G. kaustophilus HTA426. Furthermore, strain A1 growth was not inhibited by 5 mM antimonite and 15 mM arsenite, the highest tested concentrations. This is the first description of arsenic resistance in a Geobacillus strain and supports the hypothesis that members of the genus may have a role in the biogeochemical cycling of arsenic.
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