Thirteen strains of Yersinia spp. were isolated at the Rome zoo and at Castelporziano, a game preserve near Rome. The strains were tested for calcium dependency, autoagglutination, heat-stable toxin production, 50% minimum lethal dose in mice (LD50), pyrazinamidase activity and content of plasmids by electrophoresis in agarose gel. The former three tests were negative for all strains, the LD50, was always ≥1 × 107 6 CFU/ml and pyrazinamidase activity was positive for all strains. Electrophoresis revealed the presence of two plasmids of 27 and 66 megadaltons (MDa) in the two strains of Y. enterocolitica of serotype 027 isolated from animals in the zoo. The two strains of the same species and serotype, isolated from wild animals harboured a 42-MDa plasmid. A small plasmid of 2 MDa was found in two strains of Y. enterocolitica of serotype 07,8 from two subsequent samples of a zoo animal.
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