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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Characterization and Interventions for Foodborne Pathogens » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #408194

Research Project: Molecular Analysis of Foodborne Pathogen Responses to Stressors

Location: Characterization and Interventions for Foodborne Pathogens

Title: Antibiotic resistance and disinfection resistance among Escherichia coli during isolated red meat production

item Guragain, Manita
item Bagi, Lori
item Schmidt, John
item Paoli, George
item Kalchayanand, Norasak - Nor
item Bosilevac, Joseph - Mick

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/26/2024
Publication Date: 5/10/2024
Citation: Guragain, M., Bagi, L.K., Schmidt, J.W., Paoli, G., Kalchayanand, N., Bosilevac, J.M. 2024. Antibiotic resistance and disinfection resistance among Escherichia coli during isolated red meat production. Journal of Food Protection. 87(2024):100288.

Interpretive Summary: E. coli that produces Shiga toxin is found in meat animals and can infect humans via consumption of contaminated meat. Although antibiotics are not routinely prescribed for these infections, safe and effective antibiotics are recommended to prevent the severe outcome of disease. Antibiotic resistance among such E. coli threatens this approach to treatment. Also, antibiotic resistant E. coli can tolerate common processing treatments, allowing the pathogens into the final meat products. Therefore, we examined antibiotic resistance among E. coli of various virulence potential. E. coli found in meat animals were resistant to different types of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistant E. coli were effectively controlled by sanitizers used during meat processing. Understanding of trends in resistance against antibiotics and sanitizers is required to ensure current and future meat safety.

Technical Abstract: E. coli possessing genes for the virulence factors Shiga toxin (stx) and/or intimin (eae) are commonly found in the gastrointestinal tracts of food animals. E. coli (stx+ or stx+/eae+) are frequently associated with foodborne outbreaks. Antibiotic resistance (AMR) is being increasingly reported among stx+ E. coli. AMR E. coli can transfer resistance genes to other zoonotic foodborne pathogens. Further, certain AMR profiles are associated with increased tolerance to antimicrobials and sanitizers. Since the meat industry relies on these compounds to control microbial load, tolerant pathogens pose a public health risk. Therefore, this study aimed to identify AMR distributed among 3,367 E. coli isolated from various meat animals (Beef, Veal, Pork, Sheep) at different processing stages, and evaluated the association of AMR with 4% lactic acid (LA) and 150 ppm quaternary ammonium compound (QAC) tolerance in selected multidrug resistant (MDR) isolates. Prevalence of AMR and MDR among E. coli was 36.2% and 17.3% respectively. AMR prevalence among stx-/eae+ E. coli was 54.5%, and 36.1% among stx+/eae+ E. coli. AMR was frequent among O-groups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157. No difference in susceptibility towards sanitizer was observed among AMR stx+/eae+ E. coli compared to antibiotic sensitive stx+/eae+ E. coli. No association between MDR status and stress related phenotypes (biofilm formation and congo red binding) were observed. Understanding of AMR distribution among E. coli from various meat animal sources and association of pathotypes and serotypes is important to ensure meat safety.