Bacteriophages induced from weakly beta-haemolytic human intestinal spirochaetes by mitomycin C

J Basic Microbiol. 1998;38(5-6):323-35.


A comparative electron microscopic analysis of weakly beta-haemolytic spirochaetes related to human and animal intestinal spirochaetosis was done in order to search for the presence of inducible bacteriophages associated with these spirochaetes. Bacteriophages were detected at the electron microscope after experimental induction with mitomycin C in 4 strains of weakly beta-haemolytic spirochaetes related to human intestinal spirochaetosis, in Serpulina pilosicoli strain P43/6/78, the causative agent of swine intestinal spirochaetosis, in a spirochaetal strain related to avian intestinal spirochaetosis, and in Serpulina hyodysenteriae, strain P18A, the causative agent of swine dysentery, which was comparatively analysed as control. All phage-particles observed in both human and animal intestinal spirochaetes were morphologically similar with an isometric head of 45 nm diameter and a tail 63-70 nm long and 7-12 nm width. The presence of morphologically similar phages in all the haemolytic intestinal spirochaetes of human and animal origin analysed in this study opens some important questions, about the genetic relationship of phages present in pathogenic intestinal spirochaetes, their host range, and the possibility of natural gene transfer among pathogenic haemolytic intestinal spirochaetes of human and animal origin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteriophages / drug effects*
  • Birds / microbiology
  • Brachyspira / growth & development
  • Brachyspira / virology
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Hemolytic Plaque Technique
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mitomycin / pharmacology*
  • Spirochaetaceae / virology*
  • Swine / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Mitomycin