Background: Previous studies have shown that the genus Moraxella is commonly present in the nasal microbiota of swine.
Results: In this study, 51 isolates of Moraxella were obtained from nasal swabs from 3 to 4 week old piglets, which represented 26 different fingerprintings by enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC)-PCR. Whole 16S rRNA gene sequencing allowed the identification at species level of the Moraxella spp. isolates. The majority of the field strains were identified as Moraxella pluranimalium, but Moraxella porci was also detected. In addition, a cluster of 7 strains did not group with any described Moraxella species, probably representing a new species. Subsequent phenotypic characterization indicated that strains of Moraxella pluranimalium were mainly sensitive to serum complement, while the cluster representing the putative new species was highly resistant. Biofilm formation capacity was very variable among the Moraxella spp. isolates, while adherence to epithelial cell lines was similar among selected strains. Additionally, variability was also observed in the association of selected strains to porcine alveolar macrophages. Antimicrobial tests evidenced the existence of multidrug-resistance in the strains.
Conclusions: In summary, phenotypic characterization revealed heterogeneity among Moraxella strains from the nasal cavity of piglets. Strains with pathogenic potential were detected as well as those that may be commensal members of the nasal microbiota. However, the role of Moraxella in porcine diseases and health should be further evaluated.
Keywords: Bacterial diversity; Moraxella; Nasal microbiota; Swine; Virulence.