Acidobacteria is a phylum of bacteria. Its members are physiologically diverse and ubiquitous, especially in soils, but are under-represented in culture.[2][3][4]

Scientific classification

Thrash and Coates 2012[1]



Members of this phylum are physiologically diverse, and can be found in a variety of environments including soil, hot springs, oceans, caves, and metal-contaminated soils.[5] The members of this phylum are particularly abundant in soil habitats representing up to 52% of the total bacterial community.[6] Environmental factors such as pH and nutrients have been seen to drive Acidobacteria dynamics.[7][8][9] Many Acidobacteria are acidophilic, including the first described member of the phylum, Acidobacterium capsulatum.[10]

Other notable species are Holophaga foetida,[11] Geothrix fermentans,[12] Acanthopleuribacter pedis[13] and Bryobacter aggregatus.[14] Since they have only recently been discovered and the large majority have not been cultured, the ecology and metabolism of these bacteria is not well understood.[3] However, these bacteria may be an important contributor to ecosystems, since they are particularly abundant within soils.[15] Members of subdivisions 1,4,and 6 are found to be particularly abundant in soils.[16]

As well as their natural soil habitat, unclassified subdivision 2 Acidobacteria have also been identified as a contaminant of DNA extraction kit reagents, which may lead to their erroneous appearance in microbiota or metagenomic datasets.[17]

Members of subdivision 1 have been found to dominate in low pH conditions.[18][7] Additionally, Acidobacteria from acid mine drainage have been found to be more adapted to acidic pH conditions (pH 2-3) compared to Acidobacteria from soils,[19] potentially due to cell specialization and enzyme stability.[7]

The G+C content of Acidobacteria genomes are consistent within their subdivisions - above 60% for group V fragments and roughly 10% lower for group III fragments.[3]

The majority of Acidobacteria are considered aerobes.[20][21] There are some Acidobacteria that are considered anaerobes within subdivision 8[22] and subdivision 23.[23] It has been found that some strains of Acidobacteria originating from soils have the genomic potential to respire oxygen at atmospheric and sub-atmospheric concentrations.[21]

Members of the Acidobacteria phylum have been considered oligotrophic bacteria due to high abundances in low organic carbon environments.[7] However, the variation in this phylum may indicate that they may not have the same ecological strategy.[7]


The first species, Acidobacterium capsulatum, of this phylum was discovered in 1991.[24] However, Acidobacteria were not recognized as a novel division until 1997,[10] and were not recognized as a phylum until 2012.[25]



Some members of subdivision 1 are able to use D-glucose, D-xylose, and lactose as carbon sources,[7] but are unable to use fucose or sorbose.[26] Members of subdivision 1 also contain enzymes such as galactosidases used in the breakdown of sugars.[7] Members of subdivision 4 have been found to use chitin as a carbon source.[27][28][7]


There has been no clear evidence that Acidobacteria are involved in nitrogen-cycle processes such as nitrification, denitrification, or nitrogen fixation.[7] However, Geothrix fermantans was shown to be able to reduce nitrate and contained the norB gene.[7] The NorB gene was also identified in Koribacter verstailis and Solibacter usitatus.[29][7] In addition, the presence of the nirA gene has been observed in members of subdivision 1.[7] Additionally, to date, all genomes have been described to directly uptake ammonium via ammonium channel transporter family genes.[21][7] Acidobacteria can use both inorganic and organic nitrogen as their nitrogen sources.


The currently accepted taxonomy is based on the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN)[30][31] and the phylogeny is based on 16S rRNA-based LTP release 123 by The All-Species Living Tree Project.[32]


Acanthopleuribacter pedis Fukunaga et al. 2008


Geothrix fermentans Coates et al. 1999

Holophaga foetida Liesack et al. 1995


Bryobacter aggregatus Kulichevskaya et al. 2010

Paludibaculum fermentans Kulichevskaya et al. 2014


Acidobacterium capsulatum Kishimoto et al. 1991

Telmatobacter bradus Pankratov and Dedysh 2012


A. borealis Kulichevskaya et al. 2012 (type sp.)

A. ligni Kulichevskaya et al. 2012

Bryocella elongata Dedysh et al. 2012


E. aggregans Koch et al. 2008 emend. Dedysh et al. 2012

E. modestus Koch et al. 2008 (type sp.)

"Granulicella" mallensis Männistö et al. 2012


T. aquaticus Baik et al. 2013

T. roseus Eichorst et al. 2007 (type sp.)

T. saanensis Männistö et al. 2011

T. tenax Whang et al. 2014


G. cerasi Yamada et al. 2014

G. paludicola Pankratov and Dedysh 2010 (type sp.)

G. pectinivorans Pankratov and Dedysh 2010

G. sapmiensis Männistö et al. 2012

G. aggregans Pankratov and Dedysh 2010

G. tundricola Männistö et al. 2012

G. arctica Männistö et al. 2012

G. rosea Pankratov and Dedysh 2010

♠ Strains found at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) but not listed in the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LSPN)


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  25. Euzeby JP. "Taxa above the rank of class - Acidobacteria". LPSN. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
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  29. Coates, J. D.; Ellis, D. J.; Gaw, C. V.; Lovley, D. R. (1999-10-01). "Geothrix fermentans gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel Fe(III)-reducing bacterium from a hydrocarbon-contaminated aquifer". International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology. 49 (4): 1615–1622. doi:10.1099/00207713-49-4-1615. ISSN 0020-7713. PMID 10555343.
  30. See the List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature. Data extracted from J.P. Euzéby. "Acidobacteria". Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  31. See the NCBI webpage on Chlorobi Data extracted from Sayers; et al. "NCBI Taxonomy Browser". National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  32. See the All-Species Living Tree Project . Data extracted from the "16S rRNA-based LTP release 123 (full tree)" (PDF). Silva Comprehensive Ribosomal RNA Database. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
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