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Evaluation of resistance gene transfer from heat-treated Escherichia coli

Le Devendec, Laëtitia, Jouy, Eric, Kempf, Isabelle
International journal of food microbiology 2018 v.270 pp. 39-43
Escherichia coli, antibiotic resistance, cephalosporins, electroporation, food preparation, foods, gene transfer, heat treatment, plasmids, resistance genes, sodium chloride, sulfonamides, tetracycline
Antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli may be present in various foods. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of heat treatment, simulating food preparation, on the possibility of antimicrobial resistance genes being transferred from E. coli cells. The study was performed on antimicrobial-resistant E. coli cells in suspension in a sterile saline solution. The stability of resistance genes and the possibility of their transfer by transformation or conjugation were analyzed. Results showed that antimicrobial-resistant E. coli cells managing to survive after a few minutes at 60 °C retained their antimicrobial resistance. No plasmid could be transferred by conjugation from antimicrobial-resistant E. coli cells heated to 60 °C for ten or more minutes. Twelve electroporation experiments were performed using a bacterial suspension heated to 70 °C for 30 min. Genes coding for resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins, tetracycline or sulfonamides were transferred to an E. coli DH5α recipient on two occasions. In conclusion we showed that heat-treated E. coli may occasionally transfer resistance genes.