Bacterial microbiota of Lepidochelys olivacea at the Puerto Arista beach-CHIAPAS
The beaches of Chiapas, at the Mexican Pacific, are an important nesting site for the Lepidochelys olivacea species. As they are migratory marine reptiles, they are difficult to study in the natural environment, so the nesting process is important to obtain biological information. Microbiological studies in these species allow us to understand the potential risks of bacterial zoonosis, derived from the handling of turtles and the consumption of eggs. In this work, morphometric data and cloacal and oral samples were obtained from 23 nesting females of L. olivacea, from August-December 2021, at the Puerto Arista beach, Chiapas, Mexico. A total of 18 bacterial taxa were identified through biochemical tests, of which five are genera, and up to 12 species were identified. A significant higher number of taxa were isolated from oral cavity (N=18), of which five were only identified to genus. Six taxa were isolated from the cloaca, two of them were identified to genus and four to species level. The most frequent genus in both cavities was Enterobacter, in addition to Citrobacter, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. Also, the potentially pathogenic species for humans P. aeruginosa, K. ozaenae and V. alginolyticus were identified. These types of analyzes are essential to determine the infectious potential of bacteria for sea turtle species, as well as for humans. As they are threatened species, it is necessary to have a baseline that allows the care of immunosuppressed and sick animals. Likewise, they allow evaluating the zoonotic potential in the management activities of turtle species, which is of special interest for the staff of the camps installed on the country's beaches.
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Turtle mouth and cloaca samples were obtained during each turtle's nesting period. The samples were placed in Stuart transport medium and subsequently placed in alkaline peptone water. They were subsequently cultured on MacConkey and TCBS agar. Batcerial identification was done with the API20E system. The frequency of the taxa identified between the two cavities was compared. Differences among frequencies of the taxa between the four months of sampling were analyzed by a one-way ANOVA test .