Three novel strains of methylotrophic Afipia felis were isolated from several locations on Signy Island, Antarctica, and a fourth from estuary sediment from the River Douro, Portugal. They were identified as strains of the α-2 proteobacterium A. felis by 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. Two strains tested were shown to contain the fdxA gene, diagnostic for A. felis. All strains grew with methanesulfonate (and two strains with dimethylsulfone) as sole carbon substrate. Growth on methanesulfonate required methanesulfonate monooxygenase (MSAMO), using NADH as the reductant and stimulated by reduced flavin nucleotides and Fe(II). Polymerase chain reaction amplification of DNA from an Antarctic strain showed a typical msmA gene for the α-hydroxylase of MSAMO, and both Antarctic and Portuguese strains contained mxaF, the methanol dehydrogenase large subunit gene. This is the first report of methanesulfonate-degrading bacteria from the Antarctic and of methylotrophy in Afipia, and the first description of any bacterium able to use both methanesulfonate and dimethylsulfone. In contrast, the type strain of A. felis DSM 7326T was not methylotrophic, but grew in defined mineral medium with a wide range of single simple organic substrates. Free-living Afipia strains occurring widely in the natural environment may be significant as methylotrophs, degrading C1-sulfur compounds, including the recalcitrant organosulfur compound methanesulfonate.