Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 1999


Published in 1999 Nebraska Swine Report, compiled by Duane E. Reese, Associate Professor and Extension Swine Specialist, Department of Animal Science. Prepared by the staff in Animal Science and cooperating Departments for use in Extension, Teaching and Research programs. Published by Cooperative Extension Division, Agricultural Research Division, and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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Porcine colonic spirochetosis (PCS) caused by Serpulina pilosicoli has been identified as a contributing cause of diarrhea and reduced performance of growing pigs in all major swine producing countries. The current view that transmission of PCS occurs through contamination of the environment by acutely or persistently infected pigs is based on the assumption that the spirochetes remain viable in the environment. The purpose of this study was to compare the viability of Serpulina pilosicoli kept in pure culture or mixed with feces at four different temperatures over time with that of Serpulina hyodysenteriae. The results of the present study indicated Serpulina pilosicoli survived considerably longer than Serpulina hyodysenteriae in pure cultures held at 75°F and 99°F, and at all temperatures in spiked fecal materials. Pure cultures of Serpulina pilosicoli survived for at least 63 days at -158°F, seven to 14 days at 39°F 14 to 28 days at 75°F and seven to 28 days at 99°F. The survival of each spirochete mixed with feces was similar as pure cultures for samples kept at -158°F and 39°F but was reduced to one to seven days at 75°F and one to three days at 99°F for Serpulina pilosicoli and