Antimicrobial resistance of lactic acid bacteria from Nono, a naturally fermented milk product

Obioha, Promiselynda Ijeoma, Anyogu, Amarachukwu, Awamaria, Brigitte, Ghoddusi, Hamid and Ouoba, Irene (2023) Antimicrobial resistance of lactic acid bacteria from Nono, a naturally fermented milk product. Antibiotics, 12 (5) (843). pp. 1-14. ISSN 2079-6382


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to public health. The food chain has been recognised as a vehicle for transmitting AMR bacteria. However, information about resistant strains isolated from African traditional fermented foods remains limited. Nono is a traditional, naturally fermented milk product consumed by many pastoral communities across West Africa. The main aim of this study was to investigate and determine the AMR patterns of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) involved in the traditional fermentation of milk for Nono production, and the presence of transferable AMR determinants.

One hundred (100) LAB isolates from Nono identified in a previous study as Limosilactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Streptococcus thermophilus, Streptococcus infantarius, Lentilactobacillus senioris, Leuconostoc pseudomesenteriodes, and Enterococcus thailandicus were investigated. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined for 18 antimicrobials using the micro-broth dilution method. In addition, LAB isolates were screened for 28 antimicrobial resistance genes using PCR. The ability of LAB isolates to transfer tetracycline and streptomycin resistance genes to Enterococcus faecalis was also investigated.

The experiments revealed variable antimicrobial susceptibility according to the LAB isolate and the antimicrobial tested. The tetracycline resistance genes tet(S) and tet(M) were detected in isolates Ent. thailandicus 52 and S. infantarius 10. Additionally, aad(E) encoding resistance to streptomycin was detected in Ent. thailandicus 52. The conjugation experiments suggested that the tet(S) and aad(E) genes were transferable in vitro from isolate Ent. thailandicus 52 to Ent. faecalis JH2-2.

Significance and Impact:
Traditional fermented foods play a significant role in the diet of millions of people in Africa, yet their contribution to the burden of AMR is largely unknown. This study highlights that LAB involved in traditionally fermented foods could be potential reservoirs of AMR. It also underscores the relevant safety issues of Ent. thailandicus 52 and S. infantarius 10 for use as starter cultures as they carry transferable AMR genes. Starter cultures are an essential aspect of improving the safety and quality attributes of African fermented foods. However, AMR monitoring is an important safety aspect in the selection of starter cultures for improving traditional fermentation technologies.

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