Objective: To isolate Actinomyces pyogenes and A pyogenes-like (APL) organisms from the ruminal wall and ruminal contents of cattle and compare them with isolates from liver abscesses from the same animals, using ribosomal DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis or ribotyping.
Procedure: Specimens of liver abscesses, ruminal walls, and ruminal contents were collected from 59 cattle at slaughter. All beta-hemolytic, pinpoint colonies that were gram positive, pleomorphic rod-shaped, and catalase negative, and that hydrolyzed casein and gelatin were presumptively identified as A pyogenes and were characterized biochemically, using an identification kit. The isolates that resembled A pyogenes but fermented mannitol or raffinose, or both, were called APL organisms. Isolates from the ruminal wall and ruminal contents were compared with liver abscess isolates from the same animal by use of ribotyping.
Results: Actinomyces pyogenes and APL organisms were isolated more frequently from the ruminal wall than from ruminal contents. Ruminal isolates of A pyogenes and APL had biochemical characteristics similar to those of the isolates from liver abscesses. Among 6 sets of isolates (4 A pyogenes and 2 APL), 2 isolates from liver abscesses had ribopatterns identical to the corresponding ruminal wall isolates. Also, the APL organisms isolated from the ruminal content matched with the corresponding liver abscess isolates for both sets of specimens tested.
Conclusions: The ruminal wall may be the niche for A pyogenes and APL organisms in the rumen. The genetic similarity, on the basis of ribotyping among isolates from liver abscesses, the ruminal wall, and ruminal contents of the same animal suggests that A pyogenes and APL organisms that cause liver abscesses originate from the rumen.