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Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2011 Jun;61(Pt 6):1338-43. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.021428-0. Epub 2010 Jun 28.

Paenibacillus phoenicis sp. nov., isolated from the Phoenix Lander assembly facility and a subsurface molybdenum mine.

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Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA.


A novel Gram-positive, motile, endospore-forming, aerobic bacterium was isolated from the NASA Phoenix Lander assembly clean room that exhibits 100 % 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity to two strains isolated from a deep subsurface environment. All strains are rod-shaped, endospore-forming bacteria, whose endospores are resistant to UV radiation up to 500 J m(-2). A polyphasic taxonomic study including traditional phenotypic tests, fatty acid analysis, 16S rRNA gene sequencing and DNA-DNA hybridization analysis was performed to characterize these novel strains. The 16S rRNA gene sequencing convincingly grouped these novel strains within the genus Paenibacillus as a separate cluster from previously described species. The similarity of 16S rRNA gene sequences among the novel strains was identical but only 98.1 to 98.5 % with their nearest neighbours Paenibacillus barengoltzii ATCC BAA-1209(T) and Paenibacillus timonensis CIP 108005(T). The menaquinone MK-7 was dominant in these novel strains as shown in other species of the genus Paenibacillus. The DNA-DNA hybridization dissociation value was <45 % with the closest related species. The novel strains had DNA G+C contents of 51.9 to 52.8 mol%. Phenotypically, the novel strains can be readily differentiated from closely related species by the absence of urease and gelatinase and the production of acids from a variety of sugars including l-arabinose. The major fatty acid was anteiso-C(15 : 0) as seen in P. barengoltzii and P. timonensis whereas the proportion of C(16 : 0) was significantly different from the closely related species. Based on phylogenetic and phenotypic results, it was concluded that these strains represent a novel species of the genus Paenibacillus, for which the name Paenibacillus phoenicis sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is 3PO2SA(T) ( = NRRL B-59348(T)  = NBRC 106274(T)).

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