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Prevalence and molecular characterization of multidrug-resistant Shigella species of food origins and their inactivation by specific lytic bacteriophages

Shahin, Khashayar, Bouzari, Majid, Wang, Ran, Yazdi, Mahsa
International journal of food microbiology 2019 v.305 pp. 108252
Shigella flexneri, Shigella sonnei, antibiotic resistance, bacteriophages, disease incidence, food pathogens, foodborne illness, multiple drug resistance, phenotype, plate count, quinolones, resistance genes, tetracycline, vegetables
Shigella spp. can be isolated from various food sources and is responsible for many outbreaks and sporadic cases of foodborne diseases worldwide. Although Shigella species are known as one of the major foodborne pathogens, a few studies have characterized the prevalence and molecular basis of antibiotic resistance of Shigella spp. isolated from food origins. This study investigated the prevalence of Shigella spp. in a wide range of food samples (1400 samples), and the phenotypic and genotypic basis of antimicrobial resistance of the isolates. In addition, the potential of two Shigella specific phages (vB_SflS-ISF001 and vB_SsoS-ISF002) to control the growth of the isolates in food was tested. Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexneri were detected in 11 (0.8%) and 8 (0.6%) samples, respectively. The highest prevalence of Shigella spp. was observed in vegetables. Multidrug resistance phenotypes were noticeably frequent and observed in 17 isolates (89.5%) out of 19 isolates. Moreover, 13 (68.4%), 9 (47.4%) and 17 (89.5%) isolates were positive for β-lactamase-encoding, plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance and tetracycline resistance genes, respectively. Treatment with the phages reduced bacterial counts up to 3 and 4 log when used individually or in cocktail form, respectively. The findings of this study indicate the prevalence of Shigella spp. in food sources and also provide useful information for a better understanding of the molecular aspects of antimicrobial resistance in Shigella spp.. The results also suggest that the combination of vB_SflS-ISF001 and vB_SsoS-ISF002 phages can effectively reduce contamination of two important species of Shigella in food.