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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Apr;73(8):2708-17. Epub 2007 Feb 9.

Isolation and characterization of soil bacteria that define Terriglobus gen. nov., in the phylum Acidobacteria.

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  • 1Michigan State University, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, 6180 Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-4320, USA.


Bacteria in the phylum Acidobacteria are widely distributed and abundant in soils, but their ecological roles are poorly understood, owing in part to a paucity of cultured representatives. In a molecular survey of acidobacterial diversity at the Michigan State University Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research site, 27% of acidobacterial 16S rRNA gene clones in a never-tilled, successional plant community belonged to subdivision 1, whose relative abundance varied inversely with soil pH. Strains of subdivision 1 were isolated from these never-tilled soils using low-nutrient medium incubated for 3 to 4 weeks under elevated levels of carbon dioxide, which resulted in a slightly acidified medium that matched the pH optima of the strains (between 5 and 6). Colonies were approximately 1 mm in diameter and either white or pink, the latter due to a carotenoid(s) that was synthesized preferentially under 20% instead of 2% oxygen. Strains were gram-negative, aerobic, chemo-organotrophic, nonmotile rods that produced an extracellular matrix. All strains contained either one or two copies of the 16S rRNA encoding gene, which along with a relatively slow doubling time (10 to 15 h at ca. 23 degrees C) is suggestive of an oligotrophic lifestyle. Six of the strains are sufficiently similar to one another, but distinct from previously named Acidobacteria, to warrant creation of a new genus, Terriglobus, with Terriglobus roseus defined as the type species. The physiological and nutritional characteristics of Terriglobus are consistent with its potential widespread distribution in soil.

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