Fertile eggs of Podocnemis expansa and Podocnemis unifilis were investigated for the presence of enterobacteria, as these two endangered species have the potential for conservation measures that include egg transfer. Knowledge of normal microflora associated with turtles and turtle eggs would help effectively manage the transfer of these eggs among institutions. Thirty eggs of each species were collected, aseptically transferred, cracked inside plastic bags containing tetrathionate broth, and spread on selective media plates. Ten samples of sand and water were also examined for the presence of fecal coliforms using Colilert Quanti-Tray™ kits. Enterobacteriaceae were identified using an API 20E biochemical test kit. A majority of the bacteria isolated were potential pathogens. All egg samples were positive for Enterobacteriaceae, among which 15 eggs of P. expansa were positive for Shigella flexneri. Other isolates included Chromobacterium violaceum, Escherichia coli, and Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida. Eggs of P. unifilis were most frequently positive for Shigella flexneri and C. violaceum, and less frequently positive for A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida and Salmonella choleraesuis subsp. arizonae. The source of the bacteria in these eggs is unknown, but the nesting beaches were considered a source as water samples had low total coliform counts and E. coli was isolated from only one sand sample. This study demonstrated that Enterobacteriaceae are part of the indigenous microflora of chelonians.
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