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Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2007 Nov;57(Pt 11):2688-93.

Brucella ceti sp. nov. and Brucella pinnipedialis sp. nov. for Brucella strains with cetaceans and seals as their preferred hosts.

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SAC Veterinary Services, Inverness IV2 4JZ, UK.


Small Gram-negative cocco-bacilli resembling Brucella strains have been reported from marine mammals since the mid-1990s. Their placement in the genus Brucella has been supported by the following characteristics: they are aerobic, non-motile and catalase-positive, do not produce acid from carbohydrates and have a DNA-DNA relatedness value of >77% with the six established members of the genus. Twenty-eight European isolates of the genus Brucella from marine mammals were distinguished from the six recognized species by their pattern of utilization of eleven substrates in oxidative metabolism tests and phage lysis. The 28 strains could be further separated into two groups with cetaceans and seals as their respective preferred hosts on the basis of molecular methods and on differences in the metabolism of l-arabinose, d-galactose and d-xylose. The names Brucella ceti sp. nov. and Brucella pinnipedialis sp. nov. are proposed for the isolates from cetaceans and seals, respectively. The type strain of Brucella ceti sp. nov. is NCTC 12891T (=BCCN 94-74T) and the type strain of Brucella pinnipedialis sp. nov. is NCTC 12890T (=BCCN 94-73T).

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