PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to assess the occurrence of the extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and AmpC β-lactamase genes in 144 Escherichia coli isolates recovered from 160 vegetable salad samples.Design/methodology/approachAmong the 144 E. coli isolates recovered from 160 vegetable salads, 17 (12 percent) ceftazidime-resistant isolates were screened for ESBL production with the double disk-diffusion test. The ESBL-producing isolates were characterized for antimicrobial resistance, the presence of virulence genes and plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) determinants. The isolates were also subjected to phylogenetic group typing. The existence of plasmid AmpC genes and mutations in the regulatory region of the chromosomal AmpC gene was assessed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing. All β-lactamase isolates were further characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to determine the genetic relatedness.FindingsOverall, 17 (12 percent) of the 144 E. coli isolates studied were ceftazidime resistant. Among the 17 isolates, 13 (77 percent) were multidrug resistant and four (23.5 percent) were ESBL producers. The bla CTX-M14 was the only gene detected. Of the 12 AmpC-producing isolates, three (18 percent) harbored plasmid-encoded AmpC and sequencing analysis of the chromosomal AmpC genes revealed mutations in the promoter/attenuator region. PMQR determinants were detected in 9 (52 percent) isolates. A was the most prevalent phylogenetic group (56 percent), followed by groups B1 (31 percent), D (6 percent), and B2 (6 percent). PCR showed that six (50 percent) ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli isolates carried one and/or two virulence genes. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed no epidemiological relationship between these isolates.Originality/valueThis study places vegetable salads within the spectrum of ecological niches that may be vehicles for antibiotic-resistant bacteria/genes with clinical interest and these findings are worthy of attention as their spread to humans by ingestion cannot be dismissed.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 3, 2017