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Mobilifilum chasei: morphology and ecology of a spirochete from an intertidal stratified microbial mat communitySpirochetes were found in the lower anoxiphototrophic layer of a stratified microbial mat (North Pond, Laguna Figueroa, Baja California, Mexico). Ultra-structural analysis of thin sections of field samples revealed spirochetes approximately 0.25 micrometer in diameter with 10 or more periplasmic flagella, leading to the interpretation that these spirochetes bear 10 flagellar insertions on each end. Morphometric study showed these free-living spirochetes greatly resemble certain symbiotic ones, i.e., Borrelia and certain termite spirochetes, the transverse sections of which are presented here. The ultrastructure of this spirochete also resembles Hollandina and Diplocalyx (spirochetes symbiotic in arthropods) more than it does Spirochaeta, the well known genus of mud-dwelling spirochetes. The new spirochete was detected in mat material collected both in 1985 and in 1987. Unique morphology (i.e., conspicuous outer coat of inner membrane, large number of periplasmic flagella) and ecology prompt us to name a new free-living spirochete.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Margulis, L.
(University of Massachusetts at Amherst 01003 United States)
Hinkle, G.
Stolz, J.
Craft, F.
Esteve, I.
Guerrero, R.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1990
Publication Information
Publication: Archives of microbiology
Volume: 153
ISSN: 0302-8933
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Exobiology
NASA Discipline Number 52-30
NASA Program Exobiology
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