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Antimicrobial resistance and virulence factor gene profiles of Enterococcus spp. isolates from wild Arctocephalus australis (South American fur seal) and Arctocephalus tropicalis (Subantarctic fur seal)

Naiara Aguiar Santestevan, Dejoara de Angelis Zvoboda, Janira Prichula, Rebeca Inhoque Pereira, Guilherme Raffo Wachholz, Leonardo Almansa Cardoso, Tiane Martin de Moura, Aline Weber Medeiros, Derek Blaese de Amorin, MaurĂ­cio Tavares, Pedro Alves d'Azevedo, Ana Claudia Franco, Jeverson Frazzon, Ana Paula Guedes Frazzon
World Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology 2015, 31 (12): 1935-46
Enterococci are natural inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tracts in humans and animals. Epidemiological data suggest that enterococci are important reservoirs of antimicrobial resistant genes that may be transmitted from other bacterial species The aim of this study was to investigate the species composition, antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes in enterococci recovered from fecal samples of wild Arctocephalus australis and A. tropicalis found dead along the South Coast of Brazil. From a total of 43 wild fur seals, eleven were selected for this study. Phenotypic and genotypic characterizations were used to classify Enterococcus species. Strains were tested for susceptibility to 10 antibiotics, presence of ace, gelE, asa, cylA, tet(L), tet(M) and erm(B) genes by PCR, and genetic variability using RAPD-PCR. Among the 50 enterococci isolated, 40% were Enterococcus faecalis, 40% E. hirae, 12% E. casseliflavus and 8 % other enterococcal species. Resistance profiles were observed to erythromycin, nitrofurantoin, tetracycline, norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin. The prevalence of virulence genes was ace (68%), gelE (54%), asa (22%) and cylA (4%). In erythromycin- and tetracycline strains, erm(B) and tet(M) were detected, respectively. The RAPD-PCR demonstrated a close phylogenetic relationship between the enterococci isolated from A. australis and A. tropicalis. In conclusion, different enterococcus species showing antimicrobial resistance and virulence determinates were isolated from fecal samples of fur seals. Antibiotic resistant strains in these animals could be related within food chain and aquatic pollutants or linked to environmental resistome, and demonstrates the potential importance of these animals as reservoirs and disseminators of such determinants in marine environmental.


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