Four strains of thermophilic, endospore-forming, sulfate-reducing bacteria were enriched and isolated from hot solfataric fields in the Krafla area of north-east Iceland, using methanol and sulfite as substrates. Morphologically, these strains resembled thermophilic Desulfotomaculum species. The strains grew with alcohols, including methanol, with glucose and fructose as electron donors, and with sulfate, sulfite or thiosulfate as electron acceptors. For all four strains, the optimum temperature and pH for growth were 60 degrees C and pH 7.3, respectively; no added NaCl was required. Phylogenetic analysis based on partial 16S rRNA gene sequence comparisons showed high levels of similarity of the novel strains (>92 %) with Desulfotomaculum kuznetsovii and Desulfotomaculum luciae. However, DNA-DNA hybridization studies with D. kuznetsovii revealed that the four strains belonged to one novel species. A representative of this group of isolates, strain V21(T), is proposed as the type strain of a novel species of the spore-forming, sulfate-reducing genus Desulfotomaculum, namely Desulfotomaculum solfataricum (type strain V21(T)=DSM 14956(T)=CIP 107984(T)).