Caldichromatium japonicum gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel thermophilic phototrophic purple sulphur bacterium of the Chromatiaceae isolated from Nakabusa hot springs, Japan

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2020 Nov;70(11):5701-5710. doi: 10.1099/ijsem.0.004465.


A novel thermophilic phototrophic purple sulphur bacterium was isolated from microbial mats (56 °C) at Nakabusa hot springs, Nagano prefecture, Japan. Cells were motile, rod-shaped, stain Gram-negative and stored sulphur globules intracellularly. Bacteriochlorophyll a and carotenoids of the normal spirilloxanthin series were the major pigments. Dense liquid cultures were red in colour. Strain No.7T was able to grow photoautotrophically using sulfide, thiosulfate, sulfite and hydrogen (in the presence of sulfide) as electron donors and bicarbonate as the sole carbon source. Optimum growth occurred under anaerobic conditions in the light at 50 °C (range, 40-56 °C) and pH 7.2 (range, pH 7-8). Major fatty acids were C16 : 0 (46.8 %), C16 : 1 ω7c (19.9 %), C18 : 1 ω7c (21.1 %), C14 : 0 (4.6 %) and C18 : 0 (2.4 %). The polar lipid profile showed phosphatidylglycerol and unidentified aminophospholipids to be the major lipids. The only quinone detected was ubiquinone-8. 16S rRNA gene sequence comparisons indicated that the novel bacterium is only distantly related to Thermochromatium tepidum with a nucleotide identity of 90.4 %. The phylogenetic analysis supported the high novelty of strain No.7T with a long-branching phylogenetic position within the Chromatiaceae next to Thermochromatium tepidum. The genome comprised a circular chromosome of 2.99 Mbp (2 989 870 bp), included no plasmids and had a DNA G+C content of 61.2 mol%. Polyphasic taxonomic analyses of the isolate suggested strain No.7T is a novel genus within the Chromatiaceae. The proposed genus name of the second truly thermophilic purple sulphur bacterium is Caldichromatium gen. nov. with the type species Caldichromatium japonicum sp. nov. (DSM 110881=JCM 39101).

Keywords: Chromatiaceae; anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria; bacteriochlorophyll; hot spring; purple sulphur bacteria; thermophile.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Base Composition
  • Chromatiaceae / classification*
  • Chromatiaceae / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Hot Springs / microbiology*
  • Japan
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Phylogeny*
  • Pigmentation
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sulfides
  • Sulfur
  • Thiosulfates
  • Ubiquinone / chemistry


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Fatty Acids
  • Phospholipids
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Sulfides
  • Thiosulfates
  • Ubiquinone
  • Sulfur
  • ubiquinone 8