Polyphasic study of antibiotic-resistant enterobacteria isolated from fresh produce in Germany and description of Enterobacter vonholyi sp. nov. isolated from marjoram and Enterobacter dykesii sp. nov. isolated from mung bean sprout
Forty-two antibiotic-resistant enterobacteria strains were isolated from fresh produce obtained from the northern German retail market. A polyphasic characterization based on both phenotypic and genotypic methods was used to identify predominant strains as Citrobacter (C.) gillenii, C. portucalensis, Enterobacter (En.) ludwigii, Escherichia (E.) coli and Klebsiella (K.) pneumoniae. 38.1% of the enterobacteria strains were resistant to tetracycline, while 23.8% and 9.5% of strains were resistant to streptomycin and chloramphenicol, respectively. A high percentage of Klebsiella (100%), Enterobacter (57.1%) and Citrobacter (42.9%) strains were also resistant to ampicillin, with some strains showing multiple resistances. For unequivocal species identification, the genomes of thirty strains were sequenced. Multilocus sequence analysis, average nucleotide identity and digital DNA–DNA hybridization showed that Enterobacter strains E1 and E13 were clearly clustered apart from Enterobacter species type strains below the species delineation cutoff values. Thus, strains E1T (=DSM 111347T, LMG 31875T) represents a novel species proposed as Enterobacter dykesii sp. nov., while strain E13T (=DSM 110788T, LMG 31764T) represent a novel species proposed as Enterobacter vonholyi sp. nov. Strains often possessed different serine β-lactamase genes, tet(A) and tet(D) tetracycline resistance genes and other acquired antibiotic resistance genes. Typical plasmid replicon types were determined. This study thus accurately identified the enterobacteria from fresh produce as species belonging to the genera Citrobacter, Enterobacter, Escherichia and Klebsiella, but also showed that these can carry potentially transferable antibiotic resistance genes and may thus contribute to the spread of these via the food route.
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