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Susceptibility of Meat Starter Cultures to Antimicrobials Used in Food Animals in Canada

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Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are extensively used in the food industry for fermentation processes. However, it is possible that these bacteria may serve as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance genes that can be transferred to pathogens, giving rise to public health concerns. Animal operations that use antimicrobials as growth promotants have been linked to the origin of resistance due to the selective effect of low levels of antimicrobial used in this management strategy. The objective of this study was to determine the antimicrobial susceptibilities and mechanisms of resistance for 30 isolates of meat starter cultures commonly used in dry sausage fermentations to 20 antimicrobial agents. Susceptibility tests were performed by broth microdilution using Iso-Sensitest broth (90%, vol/vol) and de Man Rogosa Sharpe (MRS) broth (10%, vol/vol). The results showed that all 30 isolates exhibited resistance to at least three antimicrobials regardless of antimicrobial class while 17 or 30% of strains were resistant to antibiotics in three or six different classes, respectively. The incidence of antimicrobial resistance was higher among Pediococcus pentosaceus and lower for Staphylococcus carnosus strains. Genetic determinants for the lincosamide, macrolide, and tetracycline antimicrobials were not found using PCR. Phenotypic resistance in the absence of known resistance genes found here suggests that other mechanisms or genes might have contributed to the negative results. Further studies are needed to explore the genetic mechanisms underlying the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in Pediococcus species.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2 2: National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3E 3R2 3: Department of Animal Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2 4: Department of Food Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2, USA.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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