Submitted to: Letters in Applied Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The intestines of birds and mammals contain many different kinds of bacteria. Many of these bacteria are necessary in the digestive process or keep harmful organisms from growing and making the animals sick. Occasionally, some bacteria causes illness. Recently, corkscrew-shaped bacteria were discovered in the intestines of mammals and birds. However, , what these new bacteria are (classification) is not known. This study used two sophisticated molecular techniques to determine the genetics of spirochetes isolated from rats and a variety of birds. The spirochetes were classified into several existing or new species within the genus Serpulina. Several spirochetes from rats and rheas (large flightless birds) were classified as Serpulina hyodysenteriae, the etiology of swine dysentery, an economically important disease of pigs. This data will help veterinarians distinguish between different spirochetes from the intestines of birds and rats, and supports the continuing need for rodent control on farms and preventing co-raising of ratites and pigs.
Technical Abstract: Multilocus enzyme electrophoresis was used to determine genetic relationships amongst 32 intestinal spirochaetes (Serpulina spp.) isolated from rats (17, rheas (7), chickens (4), ducks (2), a swan (1) and a flamingo (1). The strains were divided into 20 electrophoretic types (ETs), with a mean genetic diversity per locus of 0.62. The results were compared with those previously published for porcine intestinal spirochaetes. One strain from a healthy rat, and three rhea strains which were recovered from cases of necrotizing typhlitis, were grouped in the same ETs as certain porcine strains of Serpulina hyodysenteriae. The rhea strains could be differentiated from these by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Fifteen of the rat strains were genetically and phenotypically closely related. In contrast, the avian strains were genetically more heterogeneous, with pathogenic isolates located in three different genetic groups.