Molecular characterization of high-level gentamicin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis from chicken meat in Korea.

International journal of food microbiology

PubMedID: 23685465

Choi JM, Woo GJ. Molecular characterization of high-level gentamicin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis from chicken meat in Korea. Int J Food Microbiol. 2013;165(1):1-6.
Because the intrinsically antimicrobial-resistant Enterococcus has acquired high-level aminoglycoside resistance genes, treating enterococcal infections is difficult. In this study, of the 101 food-borne Enterococcus faecalis isolates collected from retail chicken meat between 2003 and 2010, 11 high-level gentamicin-resistant (HLGR) E. faecalis isolates (MICs>2,048 µg/mL) were found. Molecular characterization was performed to determine the basis of this resistance. All HLGR E. faecalis isolates encoded aac(6')-Ie-aph(2?)-Ia and harbored at least 3 virulence traits in the asa1, esp, gelE, efaA, ace, and cylA genes. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were performed to characterize their molecular epidemiology. A total of 8 sequence types (STs), including 3 novel STs, were identified (ST35, ST82, ST116, ST202, ST300, ST403, ST407, and ST420). ST82, which is associated with amyloid arthropathy in poultry, was the most prevalent ST among HLGR E. faecalis isolates (4 out of 11 isolates, 36.4%); all other STs were identified in the isolates as well. The STs of food-borne HLGR E. faecalis in this study have been confirmed as corresponding to clinical isolates in the MLST database (DB), except for ST300 and the new STs. Three out of 11 isolates belonged to CC116, including ST116, ST407, and ST420. This study characterized HLGR E. faecalis isolates and provided evidence for the spread of HLGR E. faecalis with virulence factors to chicken sources in Korea. The emergence of food-borne HLGR E. faecalis suggests that chicken could be a potential source of transmission of antimicrobial resistance and virulence factors.