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Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1996 Jan;46(1):305-12.

Spirochaeta alkalica sp. nov., Spirochaeta africana sp. nov., and Spirochaeta asiatica sp. nov., alkaliphilic anaerobes from the Continental Soda Lakes in Central Asia and the East African Rift.

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Institute of Microbiology RAS, Moscow, Russia.


During a study of microbial communities in athalassic bodies of water, three new species within the genus Spirochaeta were described. These are alkaliphilic Spirochaeta alkalica sp. nov. Z-7491 (DSM 8900) and halophilic S. africana sp. nov. Z-7692 (DSM 8902) from the soda-depositing Lake Magadi in Central Africa and haloalkaliphilic S. asiatica sp. nov. Z-7591 (DSM 8901) from Lake Khatyn, Central Asia. These mesophilic spirochetes develop at pHs of > 9 as anaerobic saccharolytic dissipotrophs. The DNA base compositions (moles percent G+C) of the strains were as follows: S. alkalica Z-7491, 57.1; S. africana Z-7692, 56.1; and S. asiatica Z-7591, 49.2. The optimum growth parameters (temperature, pH, and NaCl concentration [percent, wt/vol], respectively) were as follows: for S. alkalica Z-7491, 35 degrees C, 9.2, and 5 to 7%; for S. africana Z-7692, 35 degrees C, 9.3, and 5 to 7%; and for S. asiatica Z-7591, 35 degrees C, 8.9, and 3 to 6%. The products of glucose fermentation were acetate, hydrogen, ethanol, and lactate, in different proportions, for S. alkalica and S. africana; for S. asiatica, they were acetate, ethanol, and lactate. S. asiatica is strictly anaerobic, while S. alkalica and S. africana are rather aerotolerant. All three species group within the radiation of the majority of the species of the genus Spirochaeta. Studies of the genes encoding 16S rRNA indicate a possible fanning out of the phylogenetic tree of spirochetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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