Genetic diversity of Campylobacter jejuni isolates from farm animals and the farm environment.
Colles FM., Jones K., Harding RM., Maiden MCJ.
The genetic diversity of Campylobacter jejuni isolates from farm animals and their environment was investigated by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). A total of 30 genotypes, defined by allelic profiles (assigned to sequence types [STs]), were found in 112 C. jejuni isolates originating in poultry, cattle, sheep, starlings, and slurry. All but two of these genotypes belonged to one of nine C. jejuni clonal complexes previously identified in isolates from human disease and retail food samples and one clonal complex previously associated with an environmental source. There was some evidence for the association of certain clonal complexes with particular farm animals: isolates belonging to the ST-45 complex predominated among poultry isolates but were absent among sheep isolates, while isolates belonging to the ST-61 and ST-42 complexes were predominant among sheep isolates but were absent from the poultry isolates. In contrast, ST-21 complex isolates were distributed among the different isolation sources. Comparison with MLST data from 91 human disease isolates showed small but significant genetic differentiation between the farm and human isolates; however, representatives of six clonal complexes were found in both samples. These data demonstrate that MLST and the clonal complex model can be used to identify and compare the genotypes of C. jejuni isolates from farm animals and the environment with those from retail food and human disease.