Campylobacter insulaenigrae isolates from northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) in California

Robyn A. Stoddard, William G. Miller, Janet E Foley, Judy Lawrence, Frances M D Gulland, Patricia A Conrad, Barbara A Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


There are only two reports in the literature demonstrating the presence of Campylobacter spp. in marine mammals. One report describes the isolation of a new species, Campylobacter insulaenigrae sp. nov., from three harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and a harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in Scotland, and the other describes the isolation of Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter lari, and an unknown Campylobacter species from northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) in California. In this study, 72 presumptive C. lari and unknown Campylobacter species strains were characterized using standard phenotypic methods, 16S rRNA PCR, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Phenotypic characterization of these isolates showed them to be variable in their ability to grow either at 42°C or on agar containing 1% glycine and in their sensitivity to nalidixic acid and cephalothin. Based on both 16S rRNA PCR and MLST, all but 1 of the 72 isolates were C. insulaenigrae, with one isolate being similar to but distinct from both Campylobacter upsaliensis and Campylobacter helveticus. Phylogenetic analysis identified two C. insulaenigrae clades: the primary clade, containing exclusively California strains, and a secondary clade, containing some California strains and all of the original Scottish strains. This study demonstrates the inability of phenotypic characterization to correctly identify all Campylobacter species and emphasizes the importance of molecular characterization via 16S rRNA sequence analysis or MLST for the identification of Campylobacter isolates from marine mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1729-1735
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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