Author(s): Gevers D, Danielsen M, Huys G, Swings J
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Abstract The likelihood that products prepared from raw meat and milk may act as vehicles for antibiotic-resistant bacteria is currently of great concern in food safety issues. In this study, a collection of 94 tetracycline-resistant (Tc(r)) lactic acid bacteria recovered from nine different fermented dry sausage types were subjected to a polyphasic molecular study with the aim of characterizing the host organisms and the tet genes, conferring tetracycline resistance, that they carry. With the (GTG)(5)-PCR DNA fingerprinting technique, the Tc(r) lactic acid bacterial isolates were identified as Lactobacillus plantarum, L. sakei subsp. carnosus, L. sakei subsp. sakei, L. curvatus, and L. alimentarius and typed to the intraspecies level. For a selection of 24 Tc(r) lactic acid bacterial isolates displaying unique (GTG)(5)-PCR fingerprints, tet genes were determined by means of PCR, and only tet(M) was detected. Restriction enzyme analysis with AccI and ScaI revealed two different tet(M) allele types. This grouping was confirmed by partial sequencing of the tet(M) open reading frame, which indicated that the two allele types displayed high sequence similarities (>99.6\%) with tet(M) genes previously reported in Staphylococcus aureus MRSA 101 and in Neisseria meningitidis, respectively. Southern hybridization with plasmid profiles revealed that the isolates contained tet(M)-carrying plasmids. In addition to the tet(M) gene, one isolate also contained an erm(B) gene on a different plasmid from the one encoding the tetracycline resistance. Furthermore, it was also shown by PCR that the tet(M) genes were not located on transposons of the Tn916/Tn1545 family. To our knowledge, this is the first detailed molecular study demonstrating that taxonomically and genotypically diverse Lactobacillus strains from different types of fermented meat products can be a host for plasmid-borne tet genes.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Clinical Microbiology: Open Access