Forty Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) strains were isolated from 28 chickens and 12 pigeons for the first time in Taiwan. All isolates reacted positively in the p-nitrophenyl-β-d-galactopyranoside (PNPG) and oxidase tests, showing an API 20NE identification system biocode 0-0-2-0-0-0-4. All the pigeon isolates and 85.7% (24 of 28) of the chicken isolates belonged to serotype A. Compared to the ORT ATCC 51464 strain, 14.3% (4 of 28) of chicken isolates and 58.3% (7 of 12) of pigeon isolates showed smaller colonies after 72 hr incubation. Most of the chicken isolates (22 of 28), but none of the pigeon isolates, could agglutinate chicken and pigeon red blood cells. There appears to be a correlation that ORT isolates with a larger colony size tend to be more able to agglutinate red blood cells than the ORT isolates with a smaller colony size. A majority of isolates was sensitive to amoxicillin, ampicillin, ceftiofur, penicillin, and oxytetracycline. The 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequences of 23 Taiwanese ORT isolates showed high identity (98%–100%) to sequences in GenBank. Phylogenetic analysis of these sequences showed that pigeon isolates formed a distinctive cluster, while chicken isolates and all other 16S rRNA sequences obtained from GenBank belonged to another two clusters. The results indicate that pigeon ORT isolates are different from most chicken isolates in regard to a number of phenotypic and molecular traits.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4