Identification of iron-reducing Thermus strains as Thermus scotoductus

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Journal Article
Thermus strain SA-01, previously isolated from a deep (3.2 km) South African gold mine, is closely related to Thermus strains NMX2 A.1 and VI-7 (previously isolated from thermal springs in New Mexico, USA, and Portugal, respectively). Thermus strains SA-01 and NMX2 A.1 have also been shown previously to grow using nitrate, Fe(III), Mn(IV) or SO as terminal electron acceptors and to be capable of reducing Cr(VI), U(VI), Co(III), and the quinone-containing compound anthraquinone-2,6-disulfonate. The objectives of this study were to determine the phylogenetic positions of the three known metal-reducing Thermus strains and to determine the phylogenetic significance of metal reduction within the genus Thermus. Phylogenetic analyses of 16S rDNA sequences, BOX PCR genomic fingerprinting, and DNA-DNA reassociation analyses indicated that these strains belong to the previously described genospecies T. scotoductus. The morphologies and lipid fatty acid profiles of these metal-reducing strains are consistent with their identification as T. scotoductus; however, the T. scotoductus strains tested in this study evinced a wide intraspecies variability in some other phenotypic traits, e.g., carbon substrate utilization and pigmentation. Iron reduction occurred in all strains of T. scotoductus tested except the mixotrophic, sulfur-oxidizing strain IT-7254. Thermus strains belonging to other species did not reduce Fe(III) to Fe(II) or reduced it only poorly. © Springer-Verlag 2003.