Cultivable bacterial microbiota of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus): a new reservoir of antimicrobial resistance? Academic Article uri icon


  • The northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) is an ecologically and economically important avian species. At the present time, little is known about the microbial communities associated with these birds. As the first step to create a quail microbiology knowledge base, the current study conducted an inventory of cultivable quail tracheal, crop, cecal, and cloacal microbiota and associated antimicrobial resistance using a combined bacteriology and DNA sequencing approach. A total of 414 morphologically unique bacterial colonies were selected from nonselective aerobic and anaerobic cultures, as well as selective and enrichment cultures. Analysis of the first 500-bp 16S rRNA gene sequences in conjunction with biochemical identifications revealed 190 non-redundant species-level taxonomic units, representing 160 known bacterial species and 30 novel species. The bacterial species were classified into 4 phyla, 14 orders, 37 families, and 59 or more genera. Firmicutes was the most commonly encountered phylum (57%) followed by Actinobacteria (24%), Proteobacteria (17%) and Bacteroidetes (0.02%). Extensive diversity in the species composition of quail microbiota was observed among individual birds and anatomical locations. Quail microbiota harbored several opportunistic pathogens, such as E. coli and Ps. aeruginosa, as well as human commensal organisms, including Neisseria species. Phenotypic characterization of selected bacterial species demonstrated a high prevalence of resistance to the following classes of antimicrobials: phenicol, macrolide, lincosamide, quinolone, and sulphate. Data from the current investigation warrant further investigation on the source, transmission, pathology, and control of antimicrobial resistance in wild quail populations.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Su, H., McKelvey, J., Rollins, D., Zhang, M., Brightsmith, D. J., Derr, J., & Zhang, S.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Su, Hongwen||McKelvey, Jessica||Rollins, Dale||Zhang, Michael||Brightsmith, Donald J||Derr, James||Zhang, Shuping

editor list (cited editors)

  • Cloeckaert, A.

publication date

  • June 2014