A thermophilic, agar-degrading bacterium, strain FAB2(T), was isolated from sewage sludge compost. According to phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences, strain FAB2(T) belonged to the family Paenibacillaceae within the phylum Firmicutes. However, FAB2(T) was different enough at the genus level from closely related species. The percentages of 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with related organisms were 90.4 % for Thermobacillus xylanilyticus, 91.8 % for Paenibacillus barengoltzii, 89.4 % for Cohnella lupini, 90.1 % for Fontibacillus aquaticus, and 89.0 % for Saccharibacillus sacchari. Morphological and physiological analyses revealed that the strain was motile, rod-shaped, Gram-stain-positive, aerobic and able to form oval endospores in swollen sporangia. Ammonium was required as a nitrogen source while nitrate, nitrite, urea and glutamate were not utilized. Catalase and oxidase activities were weakly positive and positive, respectively. The bacterium grew in the temperature range of 50-65 °C and in media with pH 7.5 to 9.0. Optimal growth occurred at 60 °C and pH 8.0-8.6. Growth was inhibited at pH≤7.0 and NaCl concentrations ≥2.5 % (w/v). In chemotaxonomic characterization, MK-7 was identified as the dominant menaquinone. Major fatty acids were iso-C16 : 0 and C16 : 0. Dominant polar lipids were diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol and phosphatidylethanolamine. Phosphatidylcholine was present in a moderate amount. The diamino acid in the cell wall was meso-diaminopimelic acid. The G+C content of the genomic DNA was 49.5 mol% in a nucleic acid study. On the basis of genetic and phenotypic characteristics, strain FAB2(T) ( = NBRC 109510(T) = KCTC 33130(T)) showed characteristics suitable for classification as the type strain of a novel species of a new genus in the family Paenibacillaceae, for which the name Ammoniibacillus agariperforans gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed.
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