Five acetic acid bacteria isolates, awK9_3, awK9_4 ( = LMG 27543), awK9_5 ( = LMG 28092), awK9_6 and awK9_9, obtained during a study of micro-organisms present in traditionally produced kefir, were grouped on the basis of their MALDI-TOF MS profile with LMG 1530 and LMG 1531(T), two strains currently classified as members of the genus Acetobacter. Phylogenetic analysis based on nearly complete 16S rRNA gene sequences as well as on concatenated partial sequences of the housekeeping genes dnaK, groEL and rpoB indicated that these isolates were representatives of a single novel species together with LMG 1530 and LMG 1531(T) in the genus Acetobacter, with Acetobacter aceti, Acetobacter nitrogenifigens, Acetobacter oeni and Acetobacter estunensis as nearest phylogenetic neighbours. Pairwise similarity of 16S rRNA gene sequences between LMG 1531(T) and the type strains of the above-mentioned species were 99.7%, 99.1%, 98.4% and 98.2%, respectively. DNA-DNA hybridizations confirmed that status, while amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) data indicated that LMG 1531(T), LMG 1530, LMG 27543 and LMG 28092 represent at least two different strains of the novel species. The major fatty acid of LMG 1531(T) and LMG 27543 was C18 : 1ω7c. The major ubiquinone present was Q-9 and the DNA G+C contents of LMG 1531(T) and LMG 27543 were 58.3 and 56.7 mol%, respectively. The strains were able to grow on D-fructose and D-sorbitol as a single carbon source. They were also able to grow on yeast extract with 30% D-glucose and on standard medium with pH 3.6 or containing 1% NaCl. They had a weak ability to produce acid from d-arabinose. These features enabled their differentiation from their nearest phylogenetic neighbours. The name Acetobacter sicerae sp. nov. is proposed with LMG 1531(T) ( = NCIMB 8941(T)) as the type strain.
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