Tel.+49 30 838 62676 Fax.+49 30 838 62690
The mycoplasma strain ST 57T was isolated from the trachea of a clinically healthy, free-ranging white stork nestling in Nielitz, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. Strain ST 57T grew in fried-egg-shaped colonies on mycoplasma (SP4) agar plates and was dependent on sterol for growth. The organism fermented glucose and did not hydrolyse arginine or urea. The optimal growth temperature was 37 °C, with a temperature range from 23 to 44 °C. Strain ST 57Tcould not be identified as a representative of any of the currently described mycoplasma species by alignment of the 16S rRNA gene sequence or 16S-23S intergenic transcribed spacer region, or by immunobinding assays. Thus, this organism appears to be a representative of a novel species, for which the name Mycoplasma ciconiae sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is ST 57T (=ATCC BAA-2401T=DSM 25251T). Four further strains of this species are included in this description (ST 24=DSM 29908, ST 56 Clone 1=DSM 29054, ST 99=DSM 29909, ST 102=DSM 29010). The prevalence of this mycoplasma species in clinically healthy, white stork nestlings in northern Germany was determined. Our species-specific PCR detected 57.8 % (48/83) of the samples positive for M. ciconiae sp. nov. As this species appears to be widespread in the healthy free-ranging white stork population, we conclude that this species is either apathogenic or an opportunistic pathogen in white storks.