Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Biology


Louise Temple

Pradeep Vasudevan

Kyle Seifert


Bordetellosis is a disease in turkeys attributed to the Gram-negative bacterium, Bordetella avium. The closely related species, B. hinzii, is known to colonize in turkeys as well but was not thought to cause disease. However, over the past few years, B. hinzii has been isolated from turkeys diagnosed with bordetellosis. The presumed identification of isolates obtained from Butterball farms in different locations was conducted through standard identification tests, including hemagglutination, PCR of B. avium specific genes, 16s rDNA PCR, carbohydrate utilization tests, and complete genome sequencing of a few strains. Out of ~100 isolates tested, 14 yielded contradictory results. Sequencing of the 14 isolates will be completed to determine if these contradictions were the result of a polymorphism in genes encoding the tested phenotypes or if they represent novel species. The presence of B. avium and B. hinzii together in turkeys diagnosed with bordetellosis has never been determined. To study this, swabs from turkey tracheas were obtained, and their ability to form colonies was tested through replicate plating on citrate and MacConkey media. A mixture of results from replicate plating, including growth of all colonies on citrate, no colony growth on citrate, and mixed colony growth on citrate, as well as the emergence of contradictory isolates, suggest that Bordetella species infecting and causing disease in turkeys are evolving. Despite the use of antibiotics and vaccines, bordetellosis continues to cause financial losses in the poultry industry[Office1] from death of young turkeys and sickness in adults. Therefore, ongoing research with detailed analysis of these isolates could provide useful information to improve intervention, treatment and prevention.



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