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Research article2011Peer reviewed

Phenotypic and genetic diversity among intestinal spirochaetes (genus Brachyspira) in free-living wild mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) sampled in southern Sweden

Jansson, Monica Desiree Seger; Persson, Marianne; Zimmerman, Ulla; Johansson, Karl-Erik


Brachyspira spp. are anaerobic intestinal spirochaetes that colonize vertebrates. Some species cause enteric diseases in pigs, chickens and possibly in humans, whereas others display a commensual relationship with their hosts. The aims were to investigate the prevalence among colonized free-living wild mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) of three enteropathogenic Brachyspira spp., and to describe the biodiversity of Brachyspira spp. isolates. Isolates from 150 birds were screened by PCR for 3 pathogenic Brachyspira spp., and 35 isolates from 20 mallards, 4 pigs and 1 chicken were subjected to phenotypic tests, 9 diagnostic PCRs, sequencing of the 16S rRNA and NADH oxidase (fox) genes, phylogenetic analysis and nox gene restriction enzyme analysis in silico. Of the 150 birds, 47%, 33% and 11% were positive by PCR for Brachyspira pilosicoli, Brachyspira intermedia and Brachyspira hyodysenteriae. respectively. Thirty-one characterized isolates were provisionally identified as B. intermedia, Brachyspira alvinipulli, "Brachyspira pulli", or B. pilosicoli, whereas 4 were of indeterminate species affiliation. Many isolates were phylogenetically related to isolates from livestock. Isolates identified by PCR as B. pilosicoli displayed particularly high biodiversity. Up to five different Brachyspira genotypes were found from the same bird. Sequencing of amplicons from isolates that displayed ambiguous results as judged from PCR and phenotyping showed that several diagnostic PCRs were non-specific. Nox gene restriction enzyme analysis in silica correctly identified 2 of 34 characterized isolates. A culture technique based on filtration that produced uncontaminated spirochaete isolates was described. The results show that mallard intestines support a high degree of biodiversity among Brachyspira spp. (C) 2011 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


Biodiversity; Brachyspira spp.; Intestinal spirochaete; Mallard; NADH oxidase (nox) gene; 16S rRNA gene

Published in

Systematic and Applied Microbiology
2011, Volume: 34, number: 8, pages: 566-575

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Veterinary Science
      Animal and Dairy Science

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