A Thermophilic, Acidophilic Mycoplasma Isolated from a Coal Refuse Pile

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Science  25 Dec 1970:
Vol. 170, Issue 3965, pp. 1416-1418
DOI: 10.1126/science.170.3965.1416


A thermophilic, acidophilic procaryote lacking a cell wall has been isolated from a coal refuse pile which had undergone self-heating. Electron micrographs, chemical assays for hexosamine, and the inability of vancomycin to inhibit growth confirm the lack of a cell wall. The apparent ability of the organism to reproduce by budding and the low guanine plus cytosine content of its DNA indicate a relation to the mycoplasmas. The temperature optimum of the organism is 59°C, and growth occurs over a range of 45° to 62°C. No growth occurs at 37°C or at 65°C. The optimum pH for growth is between 1 and 2, and growth occurs between pH 0.96 and 3.5 but does not occur at pH 0.35 and only poorly at pH 4.0. We propose to call this organism Thermoplasma acidophila. The existence of this organism extends considerably the range of habitats in which mycoplasma may occur.