A Francisella sp., isolate GM2212(T), previously isolated from diseased farmed Atlantic cod Gadus morhua in Norway is characterized. The complete 16S rDNA, 16S-23S intergenic spacer, 23S rDNA, 23S-5S intergenic spacer, 5S rDNA, FopA, lipoprotein TUL4 (LpnA), malate dehydrogenase and a hypothetical lipoprotein (LpnB) is sequenced and compared with Francisella tularensis and Francisella philomiragia. All these sequences support a close relationship between GM2212(T) and F. philomiragia. The bacterium grows at 10-25 degrees C with an optimum at about 20 degrees C, a temperature range clearly different from F. tularensis and F. philomiragia. GM2212(T) is catalase-positive, indole positive, oxidase-negative, do not produce H(2)S in Triple Sugar Iron agar, and does not hydrolyze gelatin, is resistant to erythromycin and susceptible to ceftazidime, the latter five characteristics separating it from F. philomiragia. Cysteine enhances growth. Acid is produced from D: -glucose, maltose, sucrose (weak) but not from lactose or glycerol. GM2212(T) grows on both MacConkey agar and in nutrient broth (6% NaCl). The bacterium is resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, penicillines, cefuroxime and erythromycin; but is susceptible to ceftazidime, tetracycline, gentamicin, ciprofloxacin. Based on the molecular and phenotypical characteristics, we suggest that this GM2212 isolate, may represent a new species of Francisella. Isolate GM2212(T) (=CNCM I-3481(T) = CNCM I-3511(T) = DSM 18777(T)).