Strain SBT is a new, strictly anaerobic, gram-negative, nonmotile, non-sporeforming, rod-shaped bacterium that degrades benzoate and certain fatty acids in syntrophic association with hydrogen/formate-using microorganisms. Strain SBT produced approximately 3 mol of acetate and 0.6 mol of methane per mol of benzoate in coculture with Methanospirillum hungatei strain JF1. Saturated fatty acids, some unsaturated fatty acids, and methyl esters of butyrate and hexanoate also supported growth of strain SBT in coculture with Desulfovibrio strain G11. Strain SBT grew in pure culture with crotonate, producing acetate, butyrate, caproate, and hydrogen. The molar growth yield was 17 +/- 1 g cell dry mass per mol of crotonate. Strain SBT did not grow with fumarate, iron(III), polysulfide, or oxyanions of sulfur or nitrogen as electron acceptors with benzoate as the electron donor. The DNA base composition of strain SBT was 43.1 mol% G+C. Analysis of the 16 S rRNA gene sequence placed strain SBT in the delta-subdivision of the Proteobacteria, with sulfate-reducing bacteria. Strain SBT was most closely related to members of the genus Syntrophus. The clear phenotypic and genotypic differences between strain SBT and the two described species in the genus Syntrophus justify the formation of a new species, Syntrophus aciditrophicus.