Previous studies on the ubiquity and diversity of microbial (per)chlorate reduction resulted in the isolation of 20 new strains of dissimilatory (per)chlorate-reducing bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all of the isolates were members of the Proteobacteria with representatives in the alpha-, beta- and gamma-subclasses. The majority of the new isolates were located in the beta-subclass and were closely related to each other and to the phototrophic Rhodocyclus species. Here an in-depth analysis of these organisms which form two distinct monophyletic groups within the Rhodocyclus assemblage is presented. Two new genera, Dechloromonas and Dechlorosoma, are proposed for these beta-subclass lineages which represent the predominant (per)chlorate-reducing bacteria in the environment. The type species and strains for these new genera are Dechloromonas agitata strain CKBT and Dechlorosoma suillum strain PST, respectively.