Spirochaetes isolated from field samples of diarrhoea, 'colitis' and mucoid diarrhoea from pigs were examined by a series of cultural, biochemical and serological tests. In addition sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis was used to determine whether the organisms possessed a 16 kDa protein thought to distinguish Serpulina hyodysenteriae from S innocens. Spirochaetal isolates which differed culturally and biochemically from S hyodysenteriae were found to possess a 16 kDa protein. One of these isolates was examined by electron microscopy and found to have an ultrastructure differing from that of S hyodysenteriae. Antiserum to the 16 kDa antigen of S hyodysenteriae reacted with isolate S80/5, the homologous strain, and with B78, the type species, but not with the 16 kDa antigens of the field isolates considered to be S hyodysenteriae or with the non-S hyodysenteriae spirochaetes. It was concluded that there may be a family of 16 kDa proteins located on the envelope of various spirochaetes responsible for diarrhoea in pigs.
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