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J Appl Microbiol. 2003;95(4):649-55.

Identification of campylobacteria isolated from Danish broilers by phenotypic tests and species-specific PCR assays.

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1
Department of Poultry, Fish and Fur Animals, Danish Veterinary Institute, Arhus N, Denmark. mwai@novonordisk.com

Abstract

AIMS:

To validate a phenotypic Campylobacter species identification method employed to identify campylobacters in broilers by comparison with campylobacterial species identification using various species-specific PCR analyses.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

From a collection of 2733 phenotypically identified campylobacterial cultures, 108 Campylobacter jejuni cultures and 351 campylobacterial cultures other than Camp. jejuni were subjected to various species-specific PCR assays. On the basis of the genotypic tests, it was demonstrated that Camp. jejuni and Camp. coli constituted approx. 99% of all cultures, while other species identified were Helicobacter pullorum, Camp. lari and Camp. upsaliensis. However, 29% of the 309 Camp. coli cultures identified by phenotypic tests were hippurate-variable or negative Camp. jejuni cultures, whereas some Camp. lari cultures and unspeciated campylobacter cultures belonged to H. pullorum. It was also notable that 2-6% of the cultures were, in fact, mixed cultures.

CONCLUSIONS:

The phenotypic identification scheme employed failed to appropriately differentiate Campylobacter species and particularly to identify the closely related species, H. pullorum.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

Future phenotypic test schemes should be designed to allow a more accurate differentiation of Campylobacter and related species. Preferably, the phenotypic tests should be supplemented with a genotypic strategy to disclose the true campylobacterial species diversity in broilers.

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