Environmental heterogeneity of Staphylococcus species from alkaline fermented foods and associated toxins and antimicrobial resistance genetic elements

Ouoba, Irene, Vouidibio-Mbozo, Alain Brice, Anyogu, Amarachukwu, Obioha, Promiselynda Ijeoma, Lingani-Sawadogo, Hagrétou, Sutherland, Jane P., Jespersen, Lene and Ghoddusi, Hamid (2019) Environmental heterogeneity of Staphylococcus species from alkaline fermented foods and associated toxins and antimicrobial resistance genetic elements. International journal of food microbiology, 311 (108356). pp. 1-49. ISSN 1879-3460


Different samples of three products including Bikalga and Soumbala from Burkina Faso (West Africa) and Ntoba Mbodi from Congo-Brazzaville (Central Africa) were evaluated. The bacteria (400) were phenotyped and genotypically characterized by Rep-PCR, PFGE, 16S rRNA and rpoB gene sequencing and spa typing. Their PFGE profiles were compared with those of 12,000 isolates in the Center for Disease Control (CDC, USA) database. They were screened for the production of enterotoxins, susceptibility to 19 antimicrobials, presence of 12 staphylococcal toxin and 38 AMR genes and the ability to transfer erythromycin and tetracycline resistance genes to Enterococcus faecalis JH2-2. Fifteen coagulase negative (CoNS) and positive (CoPS) species characterized by 25 Rep-PCR/PFGE clusters were identified: Staphylococcus arlettae, S. aureus, S. cohnii, S. epidermidis, S. gallinarum, S. haemolyticus, S. hominis, S. pasteuri, S. condimenti, S. piscifermentans, S. saprophyticus, S. sciuri, S. simulans, S. warneri and Macrococcus caseolyticus. Five species were specific to Soumbala, four to Bikalga and four to Ntoba Mbodi. Two clusters of S. gallinarum and three of S. sciuri were particular to Burkina Faso. The S. aureus isolates exhibited a spa type t355 and their PFGE profiles did not match any in the CDC database. Bacteria from the same cluster displayed similar AMR and toxin phenotypes and genotypes, whereas clusters peculiar to a product or a location generated distinct profiles. The toxin genes screened were not detected and the bacteria did not produce the staphylococcal enterotoxins A, B, C and D. AMR genes including blazA, cat501, dfr(A), dfr(G), mecA, mecA1, msr(A) and tet(K) were identified in CoNS and CoPS. Conjugation experiments produced JH2-2 isolates that acquired resistance to erythromycin and tetracycline, but no gene transfer was revealed by PCR. The investigation of the heterogeneity of Staphylococcus species from alkaline fermented foods, their relationship with clinical and environmental isolates and their safety in relation to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and toxin production is anticipated to contribute to determining the importance of staphylococci in alkaline fermented foods, especially in relation to the safety of the consumers. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.]

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