Characterization of Escherichia coli strains isolated from raw vegetables
Keywords:vegetables, Escherichia coli, virulence, resistance, safety
Vegetables are an important part of the human diet. Sometimes, contamination by pathogenic Escherichia coli can be underestimated; moreover there is a risk of antibiotic resistance spreading via the food chain. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of Escherichia coli in fresh vegetables sold in retail market in the Czech Republic and to evaluate the risk to human health. Antibiotic resistance against 12 antibiotics, the presence of 12 virulence and 15 resistance genes were determined among 15 isolated strains. Most of tested strains belonged to B1 phylogenetic group, less frequently represented was B2 and D phylogroup. These results indicate that most strains are probably of human origin. All E. coli strains were resistant to at least one of twelve tested antibiotics. A multidrug resistance was observed in four strains. In this study, the presence of virulence factors Einv and papC and also genes encoding toxins (CNF1, CNF2) was detected. Nevertheless, none strain can be considered as STEC or EHEC. The widespread appearance of a growing trend associated with the prevalence of antibiotic resistance among enterobacterial isolates is undeniable and the possibility of transfer to humans cannot be ignored. Nevertheless, these results indicate that raw vegetables sold in the retail market can constitute a potential health risk for consumers.
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