Occurrence of antibiotic resistance and characterization of resistance genes and integrons in Enterobacteriaceae isolated from integrated fish farms in South China

Hao-Chang Su, Guang-Guo Ying, Ran Tao, Rui-Quan Zhang, Lisa Reynolds Fogarty, Dana W Kolpin
Journal of Environmental Monitoring: JEM 2011, 13 (11): 3229-36
Antibiotics are still widely applied in animal husbandry to prevent diseases and used as feed additives to promote animal growth. This could result in antibiotic resistance to bacteria and antibiotic residues in animals. In this paper, Enterobacteriaceae isolated from four integrated fish farms in Zhongshan, South China were tested for antibiotic resistance, tetracycline resistance genes, sulfonamide resistance genes, and class 1 integrons. The Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were carried out to test antibiotic susceptibility and resistance genes, respectively. Relatively high antibiotic resistance frequencies were found, especially for ampicillin (80%), tetracycline (52%), and trimethoprim (50%). Out of 203 Enterobacteriaceae isolates, 98.5% were resistant to one or more antibiotics tested. Multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) was found highest in animal manures with a MAR index of 0.56. Tetracycline resistance genes (tet(A), tet(C)) and sulfonamide resistance genes (sul2) were detected in more than 50% of the isolates. The intI1 gene was found in 170 isolates (83.7%). Both classic and non-classic class 1 integrons were found. Four genes, aadA5, aadA22, dfr2, and dfrA17, were detected. To our knowledge, this is the first report for molecular characterization of antibiotic resistance genes in Enterobacteriaceae isolated from integrated fish farms in China and the first time that gene cassette array dfrA17-aadA5 has been detected in such fish farms. Results of this study indicated that fish farms may be a reservoir of highly diverse and abundant antibiotic resistant genes and gene cassettes. Integrons may play a key role in multiple antibiotic resistances posing potential health risks to the general public and aquaculture.

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