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Studies on occurrence, characterisation and decontamination of emerging pathogenic Escherichia coli (STEC, ETEC and EIEC) in table eggs

Vinayananda, C. O, Fairoze, Nadeem, Madhavaprasad, C. B, Byregowda, S. M, Nagaraj, C. S, Bagalkot, Prashanth, Karabasanavar, Nagappa
British poultry science 2017 v.58 no.6 pp. 664-672
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, antibiotic resistance, birds, chlorine, cleaning, decontamination, eggs, enteroinvasive Escherichia coli, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, gastrointestinal system, genes, humans, marketing channels, markets, peracetic acid, plate count, poultry, production technology, public health, serotypes, virulence
1. Escherichia coli is one of the most common facultative anaerobic species present in the gastrointestinal tract of animals and human beings. Usually they occur as commensals, but some serotypes can cause significant illnesses in humans as well as mammals and birds. 2. The occurrence of E. coli in different categories of table eggs collected from markets was evaluated. Isolates were analysed for the presence of virulence genes, antibiotic susceptibility pattern and efficacy of peracetic acid and chlorine for the purpose of decontaminating table eggs. 3. Significant differences were observed in the occurrence of E. coli between different groups viz. processed (cleaned, washed, sanitised and packed eggs), unprocessed (un-cleaned, un-sanitised and loose eggs) and free range (eggs obtained from backyard poultry) table eggs. Overall, E. coli occurred in table eggs at 28.6% with 22.9, 29.2 and 50.0% occurrence in processed, unprocessed and free-range table eggs, respectively. 4. A total of 24 isolates of E. coli were obtained and screened for virulence genes viz. STH, SLT1/2 and INVE genes. Of the 24 isolates recovered, 10 typeable isolates belonged to O141, O119, O9, O120 and O101 serotypes, while the remaining 14 were untypeable. Antibiograms of the isolates showed multiple antimicrobial resistance (MAR) index in the range of 0.13–0.40. 5. Peracetic acid (PAA) and chlorine (CL) were studied for their sanitisation efficacy; concentrations of 100 mg/kg of PAA and 200 mg/kg of CL completely inactivated E. coli over the egg surface and also resulted in 2.58 and 2.38 log reduction in total viable counts (TVC), respectively. 6. The presence of virulence-associated shiga-like toxin (SLT1/2) and invasion E (INVE) genes and antimicrobial resistance among the emerging serotypes of pathogenic E. coli isolated from table eggs has public health implications. It underscores the need to implement better management practices across the production systems and marketing channels to produce E. coli-free wholesome eggs for consumers.