Occurrence and genomic characterization of antimicrobial-resistant and potential pathogenic Escherichia coli from Italian artisanal food productions of animal origin

Published: 25 March 2024
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Escherichia coli can harbor a broad repertoire of virulence and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes, which can be exchanged across the human gastrointestinal microflora, thus posing a public health risk. In this study, 6 batches of artisanal soft cheese and a 6-month ripened fermented dried sausage were investigated to assess the occurrence, phylogeny, and genomic traits (AMR, virulence, and mobilome) of E. coli. 30 and 3 strains isolated from salami and cheese food chains, respectively, were confirmed as E. coli by whole genome sequencing. The accumulation of single nucleotide polymorphism differences within small clusters of strains encompassing batches or processing stages, combined with high serotype and phylogroup diversity, suggested the occurrence of different contamination phenomena among the facilities. A total of 8 isolates harbored plasmid-mediated resistance genes, including one cheese strain that carried an IncQ1 plasmid carrying AMR determinants to macrolides [mph(B)], sulfonamides (sul1, sul2), trimethoprim (dfrA1), and aminoglycosides [aph(3”)-Ib and aph(6)-Id]. A pool of virulence-associated genes in the class of adhesion, colonization, iron uptake, and toxins, putative ColV-positive iron uptake systems sit, iro, or iuc (8 salami and 2 cheese), plasmid-encoded hemolysin operon hlyABCD (one salami), and potential atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (3 salami environment) were reported. Overall, our findings underscore the importance of routine surveillance of E. coli in the artisanal food chain to prevent the dissemination of AMR and virulence.



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How to Cite

Crippa C, De Cesare A, Lucchi A, Parisi A, Manfreda G, Pasquali F. Occurrence and genomic characterization of antimicrobial-resistant and potential pathogenic <i>Escherichia coli</i> from Italian artisanal food productions of animal origin. Ital J Food Safety [Internet]. 2024 Mar. 25 [cited 2024 Jul. 13];13(2). Available from: https://www.pagepressjournals.org/ijfs/article/view/12205