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Longitudinal characterization of resistant Escherichia coli in fecal deposits from cattle fed subtherapeutic levels of antimicrobials

Alexander, T.W., Reuter, T., Sharma, R., Yanke, L.J., Topp, E., McAllister, T.A. (2009). Longitudinal characterization of resistant Escherichia coli in fecal deposits from cattle fed subtherapeutic levels of antimicrobials, 75(22), 7125-7134. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00944-09

Abstract

Model fecal deposits from cattle fed or not fed antimicrobial growth promoters were examined over 175 days in the field for growth and persistence of total Escherichia coli and numbers and proportions of ampicillin-resistant (Ampr) and tetracycline-resistant (Tetr) E. coli. In addition, genotypic diversity and the frequency of genetic determinants encoded by Ampr and Tetr E. coli were investigated. Cattle were fed diets containing chlortetracycline (44 ppm; A44 treatment group), chlortetracycline plus sulfamethazine (both at 44 ppm; AS700 treatment group), or no antibiotics (control). Fecal deposits were sampled 12 times over 175 days. Numbers of Tetr E. coli in A44 and AS700 deposits were higher (P < 0.001) than those of controls and represented up to 35.6% and 20.2% of total E. coli, respectively. A time-by-treatment interaction (P < 0.001) was observed for the numbers of Tetr and Ampr E. coli. Except for Amp r E. coli in control deposits, all E. coli numbers increased (P < 0.001) in deposits up to day 56. Even after 175 days, high Tetr E. coli numbers were detected in A44 and AS700 deposits [5.9 log10 CFU (g dry matter)-1 and 5.4 log10 CFU (g dry matter) -1, respectively]. E. coli genotypes, as determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, were diverse and were influenced by the antimicrobial growth promoter and the sampling time. Of the determinants screened, bla TEM1, tetA, tetB, tetC, sul1, and sul2 were frequently detected. Occurrence of determinants was influenced by the feeding of antimicrobials. Fecal deposits remain a source of resistant E. coli even after a considerable period of environmental exposure.

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