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Environ Microbiol. 2004 Aug;6(8):820-30.

Molecular detection and isolation of facultatively methylotrophic bacteria, including Methylobacterium podarium sp. nov., from the human foot microflora.

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  • 1Microbiology Research Group, Department of Life Sciences, King's College London, Franklin Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN, UK.


This is the first study to demonstrate that diverse methylotrophic bacteria occur in the human foot microflora. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of DNA from the soles and toe clefts of feet of five subjects indicated Methylobacterium strains to be present in all cases. Polymerase chain reaction amplification also showed the gene for the alpha-subunit of methanol dehydrogenase (mxaF) to be present in all samples. Two types of mxaF were recovered, one closest to that of Methylobacterium extorquens and the other most similar to that of Hyphomicrobium methylovorum. Numerous methylotrophic strains able to grow on methylamine were isolated with ease from the feet of nine volunteers. These were found by 16S rRNA analysis to be most closely related to Methylobacterium species, Brevibacterium casei, Pseudomonas strain NZ099 and P. migulae. Three strains from two subjects were of a novel species, Methylobacterium podarium sp. nov. This facultatively methylotrophic, obligately aerobic, pink-pigmented, non-motile rod grew with a wide range of multicarbon and one-carbon compounds including citrate, xylose, mono-, di-, and trimethylamine, dimethylsulphide, methanethiol, dimethylsulphoxide, dimethylsulphone and methanol.

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