Polyphasic taxonomy of thermophilic actinomycetes
Molecular systematic methods were applied in a series of studies designed to resolve the taxonomic relationships of thermophilic actinomycetes known to be difficult to classify using standard taxonomic procedures. The test strains included representatives of clusters defined in an extensiven umerical phenetic survey of thermophilic streptomycetesa nd twelve marker strains. The resultant genotypic data together with the results of corresponding phenotypic studies were used to highlight novel taxa and to improve the circumscription of validly described species. The most comprehensive study was undertaken to clarify relationships within and between representative alkalitolerant, thermophilic and neutrophilic, thermophilic streptomycetes isolated from soil and appropriate marker strains. The resultant data, notably those from DNA: DNA relatedness studies, supported the taxonomic integrity of the validly described species Streptomyces thermodiastaticus, Streptomyces thermoviolaceus and Streptomyces thermovulgaris. However, the genotypic and phenotypic data clearly show that Streptomyces thermonitrificans Desai and Dhala 1967 and Streptomyces thermovulgaris (Henssen 1957) Goodfellow et al. 1987 represent a single species. On the basis of the priority, Streptomyces thermonitrificans is a later subjective synonym of Streptomyces thermovulgaris. Similarly, eight out of eleven representative alkalitolerant, thermophilic isolates and three out of sixteen representative neutrophilic, thermophilic isolates had a combination of properties consistent with their classification as Streptomyces thermovulgaris. One of the remaining alkalitolerant, thermophilic isolate, Streptomyces strain TA56, merited species status. The name Streptomyces thermoalcalitolerans sp. nov. is proposed for this strain. A neutrophilic, thermophilic isolate, Streptomyces strain NAR85, was identified as Streptomyces thermodiastaticus. Four other neutrophilic thermophilic isolates assigned to a numerical phenetic cluster and a thermophilic isolates from poultry faeces were also considered to warrant species status; the names Streptomyces eurythermophilus sp. nov. and Streptomyces thermocoprophilus sp. nov. are proposed to accommodate these strains. It was also concluded that additional comparative taxonomic studies are required to clarify the relationships between additional thermophilic streptomycete strains included in the present investigation. A corresponding polyphasic approach was used to clarify the taxonomy of six thermophilic isolates provisionally assigned to either the genera Amycolatopsis or Excellospora. Two of the isolates, strain NT202 and NT303, had properties consistent with their classification in the genus Amycolatopsis. However, the genotypic and phenotypic data also showed that these strains formed a new centre of taxonomic variation for which the name Amycolatopsis eurythermus sp. nov. is proposed. Similarly, the four remaining strains formed two new centre of taxonomic variation within the genus Excellospora. It is proposed that isolates TA113 and TA114 be designated Excellospora alcalithermophilus sp. nov. Similarly, the name Excellospora thermoalcalitolerans sp. nov. is proposed for strains TA86 and TA111. An emended description is also given for the genus Excellospora.