The occurrence of bacteria belonging to Pasteurellaceae in the oral cavity of captive marine mammals was investigated using culture and subsequent geno- and phenotypic characterization and phylogenetic analyses. A total of 89 bacterial isolates from pinnipeds tentatively classified with the family Pasteurellaceae were further characterized by phylogenetic analysis of rpoB gene sequences, which showed that the isolates investigated formed five distinct groups. Four strains from California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) made up group I, which was classified with Pasteurella canis. Group II comprised four strains from harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) classified with Pasteurella stomatis. Group III consisted of 28 strains, isolated from harbor and gray seals and represented Bisgaardia genomospecies 1. Two strains from a harbor and a grey seal, group IV, were classified with Bisgaardia hudsonensis. Fifty-two strains from northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus), walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), and California and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) formed group V and represented Otariodibacter oris. No Pasteurellaceae isolates were obtained from cetaceans, but Pasteurellaceae were isolated from all sampled pinnipeds. On the basis of these results, it is very likely that Pasteurellaceae bacteria represent a part of the normal oral flora in pinnipeds.
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