Investigation of the microbial diversity of Ntoba Mbodi, an African food made from the alkaline fermentation of cassava leaves, revealed the presence of a Gram-positive, catalase-positive, aerobic, motile and rod-shaped endospore-forming bacterium (NM73) with unusual phenotypic and genotypic characteristics. The analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence revealed that the isolate was most closely related to Lysinibacillus meyeri WS 4626T (98.93 %), Lysinibacillus xylanilyticus XDB9T (96.95 %) and Lysinibacillus odysseyi 34hs-1T (96.94 %). The DNA–DNA relatedness of the isolate with L. meyeri LMG 26643T, L. xylanilyticus DSM 23493T and L. odysseyi DSM 18869T was 41 %, 16 % and 15 %, respectively. The internal transcribed spacer-PCR profile of the isolate was different from those of closely related bacteria. The cell-wall peptidoglycan type was A4α, l-Lys-d-Asp and the major fatty acids were iso-C15 : 0, anteiso-C15 : 0, anteiso-C17 : 0 and iso-C17 : 0 and iso-C17 : 1ω10c. The polar lipids included phosphatidylethanolamine, diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphoaminolipid, aminolipid, two phospholipids and two unknown lipids. The predominant menaquinones were MK-7 and MK-6. Ribose was the only whole-cell sugar detected. The DNA G+C content was 38 mol%. Based on the results of the phenotypic and genotypic characterization, it was concluded that the isolate represents a novel species of the genus Lysinibacillus, for which the name of Lysinibacillus louembei sp. nov. is proposed. NM73T ( = DSM 25583T = LMG 26837T) represents the type strain.