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J Bacteriol. 1990 Jul;172(7):3959-65.

Hyperthermus butylicus, a hyperthermophilic sulfur-reducing archaebacterium that ferments peptides.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried, Federal Republic of Germany.


The hyperthermophilic peptide-fermenting sulfur archaebacterium Hyperthermus butylicus was isolated from the sea floor of a solfataric habitat with temperatures of up to 112 degrees C on the coast of the island of São Miguel, Azores. The organism grows at up to 108 degrees C, grows optimally between 95 and 106 degrees C at 17 g of NaCl per liter and pH 7.0, utilizes peptide mixtures as carbon and energy sources, and forms H2S from elemental sulfur and molecular hydrogen as a growth-stimulating accessory energy source but not by sulfur respiration. The same fermentation products, CO2, 1-butanol, acetic acid, phenylacetic acid, and a trace of hydroxyphenylacetic acid, are formed both with and without of S0 and H2. Its ether lipids, the absence of a mureine sacculus, the nature of the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and phylogenetic classification by DNA-rRNA cross-hybridization characterize H. butylicus as part of a novel genus of the major branch of archaebacteria comprising the orders Thermoproteales and Sulfolobales, representing a particularly long lineage bifurcating with the order Sulfolobales above the branching off of the genus Thermoproteus and distinct from the genera Desulfurococcus and Pyrodictium.

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