Balneola vulgaris

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Higher Order Taxa

Kingdom; Phylum; Class; Order; Family; Genus:

Bacteria; Bacteriodetes; Sphingobacteria; Sphingobacteriales; Crenotrichaceae; Balneola


Balneola vulgaris

Description and significance

Balneola vulgaris is an aerobic, Gram-negative bacterium, named type strain 13IX/A01/164T. It was isolated from surface waters in the north-western Mediterranean Sea off the coast of France in the Bay of Baynuls-sur-Mer . Cells are motile, straight rods, 2.5 mm long and 0.2 mm wide. Balneola vulgaris forms orange colonies on marine agar medium.

Balneola vulgaris 13IX/A01/164T is an interesting addition to the family, Crenotrichaceae, because it does not exhibit the extremophilic qualities of other members. To date, most bacterium in the family Crenotrichaceae have been thermophilic or halophilic, favoring environments that high in heat or high in salt, respectively.

Phylogenetic Affiliation

The 16S rRNA gene was amplified and sequenced and the sequence was compared to those available in GenBank. Alignments and similarities showed that strain 13IX/A01/164T is phylogentically affiliated to the family Crenotrichaceae within the phylum Bacteroidetes. It is most closely related to Rhodothermus marinus NR-32T (16S rRNA gene sequence similarity of 87 %). Strain 13IX/A01/164T is also closely related to strains of Salinibacter ruber, Thermonema rossianum and Thermonema lapsum.

In addition to the strain's affinity for more moderate environmental conditions (in contrast to other members of Crenotrichaceae), the DNA G+C content of strain 13IX/A01/164T was also significantly lower (by 5–24 mol%) than those of related species. Based on these phenotypic and genotypic differences, it was it is proposed that strain 13IX/A01/164T be designated as a representative of a novel species in a new genus belonging to the Crenotrichaceae.

Cell Metabolism

13IX/A01/164T is an aerobic bacterium, requiring oxygen to oxidize substrates and generate energy. Metabolic test showed that Balneola vulgaris are able to use the following as carbon sources for energy: N-acetylgalactosamine, adonitol, arabinose, arabitol, erythritol, fructose, fucose, glucose, lactulose, maltose, methyl glucoside, sorbitol, acetate, hydroxyphenylacetate and propionate.

Enzyme Activity

Positive reactions were obtained for tests for the following enzymes: alkaline phosphatase, leucine arylaminidase, valine arylaminidase, trypsin, chymotrypsin and acid phosphatase.


Balneola vulgaris 13IX/A01/164T grows 10– 40 degrees C (optimum 30 degrees C), pH 5.0–10.0 (optimum pH 8.0), and a salinity range of 0–50 g l-1 (optimum 20 g l -1). These "normal" characteristics are unique; as indicated earlier, most members of the family Crenotrichaceae favor extreme environments.

Samples were collected in September 2001 in the bay of Banyuls-sur-Mer (42u 299 N 3u 089 E) by submerging a sterile bottle 0.5m deep and opening it to collect sea water. Balneola vulgaris 13IX/A01/164T was isolated from these water samples.

Banyuls-sur-Mer is a popular tourist location, and is also a location of extensive oceanological research. The bay has no tides and therefore shelters a number of representative species of the Mediterranean. The Arago Laboratory at the Banyls-sur-Mer hosts countless global researchers and students each year to perform research in the areas of biological oceanology and the biology of organisms (micro-organisms, invertebrates and vertebrates).

Current Research

Balneola vulgaris 13IX/A01/164T and other similar microbes are being studied to examine the biodiversity of microorganisms in Mediterranean sea waters. Scientists are interested in the microorganisms' origin, their role in maintaining the health of ecosystems, and their response to global environmental changes.


1. Laurent Urios, Helene Agogue ́,Francoise Lesongeur, Erko Stackebrandt, and Philippe Lebaron."Balneola vulgaris gen. nov., sp. nov., a member of the phylum Bacteroidetes from the north-western Mediterranean Sea." International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 2006. vol. 56 no. 8 1883-1887. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.64285-0. file:///Users/ninaschwabe/Documents/20132014/Microbiology%20Lab/Balneola%20vulgaris_web.webarchive

2. UPBC Sorbonne Universities. "Banyuls-sur-mer oceanological observatory." Retrieved March 11, 2013 from

Edited by Nina Schwabe, student of Rachel Larsen at the University of Southern Maine