Submitted to: International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Several different bacteria, including bacteria known as spirochetes, cause intestinal diseases, "pasty vent syndrome" and "intestinal spirochetosis," in broiler and layer chickens. The chronic diarrhea associated with these diseases is economically significant to the poultry industry causing poor animal performance (reduced egg production; unthrifty weight gain) and reduced quality of product (fecal soiled eggs). Exact economic losses are difficult to assess, since disease may be caused by several different organisms. We have characterized and named a new bacterium, Serpulina alvinipulli, that causes diarrhea in chickens. S. alvinipulli is the first Serpulina species unique to chickens to be isolated. Biochemical, morphology, and molecular properties distinguishing S. alvinipulli from other intestinal spirochetes were identified. We developed a colormetric test and a DNA test that will enable the organism to be identified by diagnostic laboratories. Those tests will permit accurate estimates of the prevalence of poultry disease caused by this spirochete, and will facilitate scientific and industry efforts to develop on-farm diagnostic tests and vaccines for avian intestinal spirochetosis. Researchers of spirochete diseases, poultry product industry (vaccine, antibiotics), veterinary practitioners, and clinicians will benefit from this knowledge.
Technical Abstract: Strain C1 is an anaerobic spirochete that causes intestinal disease in chickens. In these investigations, various phenotypic and genomic properties useful for establishing a taxonomic identity for strain C1 were studied. As determined by electron microscopy, cells of the spirochete measured 8-11 x 0.22-0.34 mm, and had a typical spirochete ultrastructure. Each cell had from 22 to 30 flagella. C1 cells formed weakly beta-hemolytic colonies on trypticase-soy agar plates containing 5% bovine blood. The spirochete reached maximum population densities of 109 cells/ml with a 2-4 h population doubling time in brain heart infusion broth containing 10% calf serum (BHIS broth). C1 cultures in BHIS broth were positive in tests for hippurate hydrolysis and negative for indole production. Glucosamine, N-acetyl glucosamine, glucose, fructose, maltose, and mannose were growth substrates for the spirochete in heart infusion broth containing 7% calf serum (HS broth). During growth in HS broth beneath an O2-N2 (1:99) atmosphere, cells of the spirochete consumed O2 and glucose, and produced H2, CO2, acetate, butyrate, and ethanol. Strain C1 DNA had a G+C content of 24.6 moles %. Based on DNA-DNA hybridization analyses, the DNA of strain C1 had 24-39% sequence similarity with DNA of S. hyodysenteriae, S. innocens, S. pilosicoli, S. murdochii, and S. intermedia. These results indicate chicken spirochete strain C1 has many phenotypic properties common to Serpulina species and, based on DNA hybridization analysis, represents a unique Serpulina species, for which we propose the name Serpulina alvinipulli (type strain = strain C1 [ATCC 51933]).