During a study to assess the faecal microbiome of common seals (Phoca vitulina) in a Dutch seal rehabilitation centre, 16S rRNA gene sequences of an unknown Campylobacter taxon were identified. Campylobacter isolates, which differed from the established Campylobacter taxa, were cultured and their taxonomic position was determined by a polyphasic study based on ten isolates. The isolates were characterized by 16S rRNA and atpA gene sequence analyses and by conventional phenotypic testing. Based on the whole genome sequences, the average nucleotide identity and core genome phylogeny were determined. The isolates formed a separate phylogenetic clade, divergent from all other Campylobacter taxa and most closely related to Campylobacter corcagiensis, Campylobacter geochelonis and Campylobacter ureolyticus. The isolates can be distinguished phenotypically from all other Campylobacter taxa based on their lack of motility, growth at 25 °C and growth on MacConkey agar. This study shows that these isolates represent a novel species within the genus Campylobacter, for which the name Campylobacter blaseri sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain for this novel species is 17S00004-5T (=LMG 30333T=CCUG 71276T).
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