Three bacterial isolates that were phenotypically indistinguishable from Taylorella equigenitalis were obtained from the urethral fossae of three male donkeys (Equus asinus), one located in the state of California and the other two in the state of Kentucky, USA. Based on results of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, the isolate from California differed from the two Kentucky isolates, which were the same. Mares bred artificially (California) or naturally (Kentucky) did not show signs of disease, even though infection with the organism was established in those bred naturally. Mares and, uncharacteristically, all three jacks produced antibodies that reacted in the complement fixation test utilized to identify mares recently infected with T. equigenitalis. Sequence analysis of DNA encoding the 16S rRNA revealed that the gene sequences of these isolates were virtually identical to each other (>99.8% similarity), but different (97.6% similarity) from those of several confirmed isolates of T. equigenitalis. The 16S rDNA sequences of the latter were 100% identical. DNA-DNA hybridization studies revealed a mean hybridization level of 89% between the donkey isolate from California and the donkey isolate from Kentucky. On the other hand, the mean DNA-DNA hybridization level from the donkey isolates with DNA from a strain of T. equigenitalis was 23%. The DNA G+C composition was 37.8 mol% for the two donkey isolates, as well as the strain of T. equigenitalis used in the hybridization studies. These data support our opinion that micro-organisms isolated from the male donkeys are different from T. equigenitalis and it is proposed that they be considered a new species within the genus Taylorella and named Taylorella asinigenitalis sp. nov. The type strain is strain UCD-1T (= ATCC 700933T = LMG 19572T).


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