In this study we analyzed the membrane lipid composition of “
Nitrosopumilus maritimus,” the only cultivated representative of the cosmopolitan group I crenarchaeota and the only mesophilic isolate of the phylum
. The core lipids of “
. Nitrosopumilus maritimus” consisted of glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) with zero to four cyclopentyl moieties. Crenarchaeol, a unique GDGT containing a cyclohexyl moiety in addition to four cyclopentyl moieties, was the most abundant GDGT. This confirms unambiguously that crenarchaeol is synthesized by species belonging to the group I.1a crenarchaeota. Intact polar lipid analysis revealed that the GDGTs have hexose, dihexose, and/or phosphohexose head groups. Similar polar lipids were previously found in deeply buried sediments from the Peru margin, suggesting that they were in part synthesized by group I crenarchaeota.