Two strains of a new purple sulfur bacterium were isolated in pure culture from the littoral sediment of a saline lake (Mahoney Lake, Canada) and a marine microbial mat from the North Sea island of Mellum, respectively. Single cells were vibrioid-to spirilloid-shaped and motile by means of single polar flagella. Intracellular photosynthetic membranes were of the vesicular type. As photosynthetic pigments, bacteriochlorophyll a and the carotenoids lycopene, rhodopin, anhydrorhodovibrin, rhodovibrin and spirilloxanthin were present. Hydrogen sulfide and elemental sulfur were used under anoxic conditions for phototrophic growth. In addition one strain (06511) used thiosulfate. Carbon dioxide, acetate and pyruvate were utilized by both strains as carbon sources. Depending on the strain propionate, succinate, fumarate, malate, tartrate, malonate, glycerol or peptone may additionally serve as carbon sources in the light. Optimum growth rates were obtained at pH 7.2, 33 °C, 50 mol m-2 s-1 intensity of daylight fluorescent tubes and a salinity of 2.2–3.2% NaCl. During growth on sulfide, up to ten small sulfur globules were formed inside the cells. The strains grew microaerophilic in the dark and exhibited high specific respiration rates. No vitamins were required for growth. The DNA base composition was 61.0–62.4 mol% G+C. The newly isolated bacterium belongs to the family chromatiaceae and is described as a member of a new genus and species, Thiorhodovibrio winogradskyi gen. nov. and sp. nov. with the type strain SSP1, DSM No. 6702.