Stenothermobacter spongiae

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Stenothermobacter spongiae


Higher order taxa

Cellular organisms---> Bacteria; Bacteroides/Chlorobi group; Bacteroidetes; Flavobacteriia; Flavobacteriaceae; Nonlabens (1).


Stenothermobacter spongiae


UST030701-156(T) (= NRRL B-41138(T) = JCM 13191(T)) (3).

Description and significance

Stenothermobacter spongiae, a Gram-negative aerobic microbe, resides in the tissues of the marine sponge Lissodendoryx isodictyalis in the Bahamas. The microbe was isolated from this tissue and found to be gram-negative, strictly aerobic, rod shaped with tapered ends, and pigmented orange (3).

Genome structure

The 16s rRNA gene sequence of Stenothermobacter spongiae consists of 1399 base pairs, and the GC content is 41%mol. Comparison of the 16s rRNA gene sequence revealed that S. spongiae belongs to the family Flavobacteriaceae. S. spongiae shares 93.3 and 93.6% of its sequence with the two most closely related species in the Flavobacteriaceae family, Nonlabens tegetincola and Donghaena dokdonensis, respectively (3).

Cell structure, metabolism, and growth

Stenothermobacter spongiae follows the description of its genus, Sternothermobacter. It is a rod shaped aerobe. Cells are >2•5 μm in length, that form chains of up to four cells. Cells grow best on marine agar, forming 2.0-4.0 mm colonies that are convex with smooth surfaces. Optimum temperature for growth is 28 - 30°C (growth can occur in temperatures ranging from 20 - 36°C) (3).

Fatty acids present in S. spongiae are a15 : 0, i15 : 0, i15 : 0 3-OH, i17 : 0 3-OH, i17 : 1ω9c (>5%) (3).

S. spongiae is susceptible to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline. It is not susceptible to kanamycin (3).

S. spongiae can hydrolyze gelatin, starch, and Tweens 20, 40, amd 80. It cannot hydrolyze agar, casein, carboxylmethylcellulose, chitin, or DNA (3).

It was found that S. spongiae tested positive for acid phosphate, alkaline phosphate, β-galactosidase, α-glucosidase, α-chymotrypsin, cysteine arylamidase, leucinearylamidase, valinearylamidase, esterase (C4), esterase lipase (C8), lipase (C14), trypsin and naphthol-AS-BI-phosphohydrolase activities (3). Growth of S. spongiae can occur on the following carbon sources: D-arabinose, D-galactose, D-glucose, glycerol, D-mannitol, D-melibiose, D-sorbitol, starch, and D-sucrose (3).


The bacterial strain UST030701-156 (S. spongiae) was isolated from tissue of L. isodictyalis in the Bahamas after 48 hours cultivation on an agar medium composed of 5 g peptone, 3 g yeast extract, and 0.22 μm-filtered sea water, and incubated at 30 °C (3). Comparison of the 16s rRNA gene sequence of the bacterial strain with those available in GenBank revealed that this bacterial strain is a member of the Flavobacteriaceae family (3).

Host: Lissodendoryx isodictyalis

Lissodendoryx isodictyalis is a marine sponge found in the Bahamas (3). The sponge is odorous, and blue-grey in color. The strong odor of the sponge is rarely masked by any other microorganisms, suggesting that the sponge produces metabolites with potent antifouling activity (2). S. spongiae is found on the tissues of L. isodictyalis. Whether the abcteria strain helps or harms the marine sponge is unknown.


[1]"Nonlabens spongiae." NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014.

[2] Sears, Margaret, Donald Gerhart, and Dan Rittschof. "Antifouling agents from marine sponge Lissodendoryx isodictyalis." Journal of Chemical Ecology16.3 (1990): 791-799.]

[3] Lau, Stanley, Mandy Tsoi, Xiancui Li, Loulia Plakhotnikova, Sergey Dobretsov, Madeline Wu, Po-Keung Wong, Joseph Pawlik, and Pei-Yuan Qian. "Stenothermobacter spongiae gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel member of the family Flavobacteriaceae isolated from a marine sponge in the Bahamas, and emended description of Nonlabens tegetincola."International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 56 (2006): 181-185.

Edited by Jennifer Suttles, student of Rachel Larsen, University of Southern Maine.