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J Appl Microbiol. 1998 Jun;84(6):1017-24.

Identification of unusual Campylobacter-like isolates from poultry products as Helicobacter pullorum.

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University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Langford, UK.


Twenty-six unclassified Campylobacter-like strains previously isolated from 15 chicken carcasses and caecal contents, together with two more strains isolated from chicken faeces on a different occasion, were identified as Helicobacter pullorum using various phenotypic identification methods. API Campy identification kits and a 16-test identification scheme developed for campylobacters failed to identify these bacteria, or identified them as Campylobacter spp. Eighteen strains (including the two isolated on a different occasion) were chosen for examination using a more comprehensive probabilistic identification scheme. Using this method, 14 of the 18 strains were identified as H. pullorum with ID scores > 95%; two strains were also identified as H. pullorum with lower ID scores. Of the remaining two strains, one was not identified with this scheme and the other was misidentified to the H. acinonyx pylori complex. Whole cell protein profiling by SDS-PAGE confirmed the identity of these isolates as H. pullorum, affirming the value of a polyphasic approach for accurately identifying campylobacteria. The comparatively high prevalence of H. pullorum in poultry determined in this study (60%) suggests that routine isolation and identification methods should be amended to enable a thorough evaluation of its role in human gastroenteritis and avian hepatitis. Some phenotypic characters useful in identifying poultry campylobacteria are presented which could be utilized, along with other technique(s), for improved differentiation of the campylobacteria that are found in poultry.

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