2024 journal article

Phenotypic and Genotypic Characterizations of Antimicrobial-Resistant <i>Escherichia coli</i> Isolates from Diverse Retail Meat Samples in North Carolina During 2018-2019


By: A. Abdelrahim n, E. Harrell n, P. Fedorka-Cray n, M. Jacob n & S. Thakur n

author keywords: antimicrobial resistance; Escherichia coli; retail meats; whole genome sequencing; antimicrobial susceptibility testing; multidrug resistance
Source: Web Of Science
Added: March 18, 2024

Surveillance of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in U.S. retail meats is conducted to identify potential risks of foodborne illness. In this study, we conducted a phenotypic and genotypic analysis of Escherichia coli recovered from a diverse range of retail meat types during 2018-2019 in North Carolina. The investigation was conducted as part of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS). Retail meat sampling and E. coli isolation were performed in accordance with NARMS retail meat isolation protocols. We used the Sensititre™ broth microdilution system to determine phenotypic resistance to 14 antimicrobial agents and the Illumina next-generation sequencing platform for genotypic resistance profiling. The highest prevalence of E. coli isolates was found in ground turkey (n = 57, 42.9%) and chicken (n = 27, 20.3%), followed by ground beef (n = 25, 18.9%) and pork (n = 24, 18%). The isolates were divided into seven different phylogroups using the Clermont typing tool, with B1 (n = 59, 44.4%) and A (n = 39, 29.3%) being the most dominant, followed by B2 (n = 14, 10.5%), D (n = 7, 5.3%), F (n = 6, 4.5%), E (n = 3, 2.3%), and C (n = 2, 1.5%). Using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), 128 Sequence types (STs) were identified indicating high diversity. Phenotypic and genotypic resistance was observed toward aminoglycosides, sulfonamides, beta-lactams, macrolides, tetracyclines, phenicols, and fluoroquinolones. Ground turkey samples were more resistant to the panel of tested antimicrobials than chicken, beef, or pork (p < 0.05). All isolates were found to be susceptible to meropenem. A high percentage of turkey isolates (n = 16, 28%) were multidrug-resistant (MDR) compared with 18.5% of chicken (n = 5), 8.4% of pork (n = 2), and 8% of beef isolates (n = 2). This study highlights the benefit of surveillance to identify MDR E. coli for epidemiologic tracking and is a comprehensive report of the phenotypic and genotypic characterization of E. coli isolated from retail meats in North Carolina.