Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #170089


item Ziprin, Richard
item Hume, Michael
item Andrews, Kathleen - Kate
item Droleskey, Robert - Bob
item Harvey, Roger
item Sheffield, Cynthia

Submitted to: Current Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2004
Publication Date: 7/20/2005
Citation: Ziprin, R.L., Hume, M.E., Andrews, K., Droleskey, R.E., Harvey, R.B., Sheffield, C.L. 2005. An atypical Campylobacter coli exhibiting unusual morphology. Current Microbiology. 51:1-4.

Interpretive Summary: We examined the size, shape, and appearance of the microorganism, Campylobacter coli. This microorganism is a normal inhabitant of the intestines of pigs. It is one member of a group of bacteria that are a most common cause of food poisoning. We found some very unusual changes to the appearance of the organism. It changed from a spiral shape to a rod shape, and it lost an important structure that is often used for describing and identifying this germ. When these changes in appearance happened, the cells also lost their ability to live within the intestines of chickens. These observations should be of interest to specialists in the naming of bacteria, taxonomists, and to those who study how bacteria react to changes in their environment.

Technical Abstract: Campylobacter coli cells are characterized by a "coma," helical, or spiral shape, and a single polar flagellum. Here we report stabile spontaneous changes in a culture of Campylobacter coli. Initially the cells lost their vibrionic-helical shape. Subsequently, they lost their flagellum. The cells lost their ability to colonize the chick cecum. The atypical strain reacts with commercially available polyvalent antisera directed against C. jejuni, C. coli, and C. lari. Identification of the atypical cells as Campylobacter coli was confirmed by PCR methodology using primers specific for Campylobacter coli. Additionally, the atypical cells were compared with the original C. coli 67 culture from which they were derived, with Riboprinting**TM. To our knowledge, this is the first formal report of Campylobacter coli with such unusual morphological characteristics.