A comparison was undertaken of several serological tests in determining the response of chickens and turkeys experimentally infected with the A 514 strain of Mycoplasma gallisepticum.
After a single intratracheal inoculation of chickens with a culture of the organism, the highest titres were obtained by the indirect complement fixation (ICF) test, followed by the tube agglutination (TA), haemagglutination inhibition (HI), slide agglutination (SA) and metabolic inhibition (MI) tests. By all these tests positive titres were observed within the first week and peak titres between the first and second weeks. At 5 months there was no positive reaction by the ICF test but most chickens gave positive readings by the TA, HI and SA tests for at least 14 months after infection, but turkey sera became negative by all tests after 3 months.
A disadvantage of the ICF test was that sera up to a dilution of 1/8 and 1/16 for chicken and turkey respectively were anticomplementary, and in turkeys this masked the ICF titre, which presumably was low following one intratracheal inoculation. Titres in turkeys with the TA, HI and SA tests followed the pattern seen with chickens and were generally lower than those found by other workers probably because of the avirulent nature of the inoculum used.
The WB test was the least sensitive of the agglutination tests but is useful as a flock test which can be undertaken on the farm.
The MI test gave the lowest titres of all and antibodies could be detected for only 4 months following one intratracheal inoculation. Even with serum prepared by multiple inoculations in chickens the titre was never higher than 1/32 compared with 1/1024 for serum similarly prepared in rabbits.
Precipitins were detected by the agar gel method in the sera of chickens and turkeys after two intratracheal inoculations but in only some of the chickens and none of the turkeys after one inoculation.
By all tests higher titres were observed with chicken than turkey sera and antibodies persisted for a longer time.
Re-infection of chickens when antibodies to the initial infection had become low, and of turkeys when antibodies were no longer detectable, gave rise to an anamnestic response with titres which were higher than before.
Antiserum to M. gallisepticum prepared in chickens is comparable with that prepared in rabbits except for low titres by the MI test.