A new, phylogenetically distinct, dissimilatory, Fe(III)-reducing bacterium was isolated from surface sediment of a hydrocarbon-contaminated ditch. The isolate, designated strain PAL-1, was an obligately anaerobic, non-fermentative, motile, gram-negative vibrio. PAL-1 grew in a defined medium with acetate as electron donor and ferric pyrophosphate, ferric oxyhydroxide, ferric citrate, Co(III)-EDTA, or elemental sulfur as sole electron acceptor. PAL-1 also used proline, hydrogen, lactate, propionate, succinate, fumarate, pyruvate, or yeast extract as electron donors for Fe(III) reduction. It is the first bacterium known to couple the oxidation of an amino acid to Fe(III) reduction. PAl-1 did not reduce oxygen, Mn(IV), U(VI), Cr(VI), nitrate, sulfate, sulfite, or thiosulfate with acetate as the electron donor. Cell suspensions of PAL-1 exhibited dithionite-reduced minus air-oxidized difference spectra that were characteristic of c-type cytochromes. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of PAL-1 showed that the strain is not related to any of the described metal-reducing bacteria in the Proteobacteria and, together with Flexistipes sinusarabici, forms a separate line of descent within the Bacteria. Phenotypically and phylogenetically, strain PAl-1 differs from all other described bacteria, and represents the type strain of a new genus and species, Geovibrio ferrireducens.