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Esteban-Cuesta, Irene; Dorn-In, Samart; Drees, Nathalie; Hölzel, Christina; Gottschalk, Christoph; Gareis, Manfred and Schwaiger, Karin (2019): Antimicrobial resistance of Enterobacter cloacae complex isolates from the surface of muskmelons. In: International Journal of Food Microbiology, Vol. 301: pp. 19-26

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The increasing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among pathogenic and opportunistic pathogenic microorganisms is one of the main global public health problems. The consumption of food contaminated with such bacteria (ARB), especially of raw products, might result in the direct acquisition of ARB and in a spread of resistant bacteria along the food chain. The aim of the study was to characterize the antimicrobial susceptibility of potentially extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing or AmpC resistant Enterobacteriaceae isolated from the surface of 147 muskmelons from wholesale and retail. A phenotypic analysis was carried out by using minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) test strips for ESBL detection and MIC susceptibility plates against 14 antimicrobials. Furthermore, ESBL genes, sul-genes and plasmid-mediated AmpC resistance were analyzed by real-time PCR. Additionally, a further insight in the AmpC resistance of isolates of the Enterobacter cloacae complex (ECC) was obtained by analyzing the sequence of the ampC regulatory region (n = 15). A total of 73 potentially resistant Enterobacteriaceae were isolated from 56 muskmelons. Of these, 15 isolates of the ECC were suspicious for ESBL/AmpC resistance, and eleven thereof were positive for the AmpC family EBC. Phenotypic analysis showed diminished susceptibility against "critically" and "highly important" antimicrobials, according to the WHO classification. Furthermore, divergence in the ampC regulatory region was detected between the 15 isolates. These findings highlight the important role that raw produce might play in the transmission of antimicrobial resistances along the food chain.

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