Escherichia coli used as a biomarker of antimicrobial resistance in pig farms of Southern Brazil


The objective of this study was to verify the presence of antimicrobial resistant strains of Escherichia coli in pig farms and to use it as a biomarker to evaluate phenotypic and genotypic profiles of antimicrobial susceptibility, as well as the presence of Extended Spectrum Beta-lactamases (ESBLs) and fluoroquinolone resistance genes. Several samples (n = 306) collected from swine farms (n = 100) of Southern Brazil were used for E. coli isolation: 103 of swine feces, 105 of water, and 98 of soil. E. coli isolates were submitted to the disk-diffusion test to verify their antimicrobial susceptibility, to disk-approximation test to detect ESBL-producers, and to PCR analysis to search for ESBLs genes (blaCTY-M2, blaSHV-1, blaTEM-1, blaCTX-M2, blaOXA-1, blaPSE-1) and quinolone resistance genes (qnrA, qnrB and qnrS). The percentage of E. coli isolates found in feces, water and soil samples was 66.02%, 30.48% and 35.71%, respectively. The highest percentages of resistance were obtained for sulfamethoxazole associated with trimethoprim (63.70%), colistin (45.19%) and enrofloxacin (39.26%). Regarding the levels of multidrug resistance, 37.04% of the isolates were resistant to three or more classes of antimicrobials. The most common profile (16%) of multirresistance was GEM-SUT-ENO-COL. The index of multiple resistance to antimicrobials (IRMA) was above 0.2 in 78% of the multiresistant isolates. Out of 135 E. coli isolates, 7.41% was ESBL-producers, of which 50% showed the blaCMY-M2 gene, 40% the blaTEM-1 and 70% the qnrS gene. Of non-ESBL-producing strains resistant to enrofloxacin, 13.04% were positives for qnrS gene. These results demonstrated the presence of fecal contamination in the environment, in addition to high resistance indexes for several antimicrobials, including beta-lactams and fluoroquinolones, which was confirmed by the genetic detection of ESBLs and qnr genes.



ESBLs, Escherichia coli, Fecal contamination, Fluoroquinolones, Resistance

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Science of the Total Environment, v. 647, p. 362-368.