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Genotypic And Phenotypic Characterization Of Treponema Phagedenis From Bovine Digital Dermatitis

Hector M. Espiritu, Lovelia L. Mamuad, Su-jeong Jin, Seon-ho Kim, Seok-won Kwon, Sang-suk Lee, Sang-myeong Lee, Yong-il Cho

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This study aimed to isolate and characterize Treponema spp. from bovine digital dermatitis (BDD)-infected dairy cattle. Seven isolates were characterized in this study. Isolates exhibited slow growth, and colonies penetrated the agar and exhibited weak β-hemolysis. Round bodies were observed in old and antibiotic-treated cultures. Cells ranged from 9–12 µm in length, 0.2–2.5 µm in width, and were moderately spiraled. The 16S rRNA analysis revealed the isolates as Treponema phagedenis with >99% sequence homology. Isolates had alkaline phosphatase, acid phosphatase, β-galactosidase, N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase, esterase (C4), esterase lipase (C8), naphthol-AS-BI-phosphohydrolase, and β-glucuronidase activities. Low concentrations of ampicillin, erythromycin, and tetracycline were required to inhibit the growth of isolates. Formic, acetic, and butyric acids were produced, while propionic acid was significantly utilized, indicating its essentiality for treponemal growth. The isolates shared the same characteristics and, therefore, were considered as a single strain. Isolate HNL4 was deposited as a representative isolate (Treponema phagedenis KS1). The average nucleotide identity of strain KS1 showed a small difference with the human strain (99.14%) compared with bovine strain (99.72%). This study was the first to isolate and characterize Treponema phagedenis from BDD in Korea and, hence, it delivered pathogenicity-related insights and provided valuable information that can be used for the management of BDD.