Genome-based taxonomic classification of the closest-to-Comamonadaceae group supports a new family Sphaerotilaceae fam. nov. and taxonomic revisions

Syst Appl Microbiol. 2022 Nov;45(6):126352. doi: 10.1016/j.syapm.2022.126352. Epub 2022 Aug 27.


Many genera closest to the family Comamonadaceae have not been classified into any family; moreover, some of them are not monophyletic groups beyond the genus level. To resolve the taxonomic uncertainty of the closest-to-Comamonadaceae (CTC) group, we performed 16S rRNA gene- and genome-based phylogenetic analyses combined with genome relatedness indices and phenotypic traits comparison. Phylogenies based on the 16S rRNA gene and genome sequences demonstrated that the CTC group formed a coherent and robust monophyletic lineage and was sister to the family Comamonadaceae, thereby proposing the CTC group as a novel family, Sphaerotilaceae fam. nov. The resolved genus- and species-level taxonomic relationships of this new family were then validated by the phylogenomic reconstruction and comparisons of genome relatedness indices including digital DNA-DNA hybridization and average nucleotide identity (ANI) as well as comprehensive phenotypic analysis for type strains. Finally, we reclassified all misidentified genera and species, resulting in 19 new combinations, and proposed Sphaerotilaceae-specific thresholds of ANI and average amino acid identity for genus delineation. Collectively, this study has established a sound taxonomic framework of the novel family Sphaerotilaceae and will help guide future taxonomic efforts and prevent the propagation of taxonomic errors.

Keywords: Genus-defined threshold; Phylogenomic analysis; Sphaerotilaceae; Taxonomic classification; Taxonomic revision.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Comamonadaceae* / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Fatty Acids