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Syst Appl Microbiol. 1999 Feb;22(1):28-38.

Phylogeny and diversity of Achromatium oxaliferum.

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Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie, Bremen, Germany.


Achromatium oxaliferum was first described in 1893 by Schewiakoff as an unusually large bacterium living in freshwater sediments. Up to now no pure culture is available. Physical enrichments of achromatia collected from the acidic Lake Fuchskuhle, which houses a peculiar, smaller variety, and the neutral Lake Stechlin were investigated by the cultivation-independent rRNA approach. PCR in combination with cloning and sequencing was used for the retrieval of 24 partial and 4 nearly full-length 16S rRNA sequences that formed two distinct phylogenetic clusters. Fluorescence-in-situ-hybridization (FISH) with four 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes unambiguously assigned the different sequences to either regular, large A. oxaliferum cells or to the smaller Lake Fuchskuhle population, tentatively named "A. minus". The two Achromatium sp. 16S rRNA sequence clusters form a stable deep branch in the gamma subclass of the class Proteobacteria. The closest cultivated relatives are Chromatium vinosum, Rhabdochromatium marinum and Ectothiorhodospira halophila with 16S rRNA similarities of 86.2 to 90.5%. Profound differences in the population structure of achromatia were revealed in the two lakes by FISH. In one sample from Lake Stechlin three genotypes could be visualized, and 49% of the cells were assigned to A. oxaliferum clone AST01, 28% to Achromatium sp. genotype AFK192/AFK433 and 23% to Achromatium sp. genotype AFK192/AST433. In contrast, a morphologically and phylogenetically homogeneous population of "A. minus". was present in Lake Fuchskuhle.

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