Aims: To identify an extreme thermophile, strain TMY, isolated from silica scale from the geothermal electric power plant and to examine microdiversity of Thermus thermophilus strains. Materials and Results: The isolated strain TMY was identified by morphological, biochemical and physiological tests. Phylogenetic comparison of the strain and other Thermus strains with 16S rDNA analysis, RAPD and ERIC-PCR fingerprinting were performed. Strain TMY was closely related to strain which was isolated from a hot spring in New Zealand and shown to belong to the Japanese Thermus cluster. However, there were considerable genetic differences between strain TMY and other Thermus species using DNA fingerprinting. Conclusions: Based on morphological, physiological and genetic properties, strain TMY could be a strain of T. thermophilus. The distinct properties of strain TMY suggest that microdiversity of T. thermophilus strains should be considered. Significance and Impact of the Study: The results of this study have demonstrated genetic diversity within T. thermophilus strains, which were previously masked by an almost identical 16S rDNA sequence. RAPD and ERIC-PCR could be potential methods for distinguishing between Thermus strains.
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