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Phenotypic and genotypic traits of Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from pig carcasses

Nitzsche, S., Zweifel, C., Stephan, R.
Veterinary microbiology 2007 v.120 no.3-4 pp. 292-299
phenotype, genotype, traits, Staphylococcus aureus, isolation, swine, swine diseases, microbial genetics, strains, nucleotide sequences, pig carcasses, strain differences, enterotoxins, sequence analysis
A total of 142 S. aureus strains isolated from pig carcasses from abattoirs A (n = 98) and B (n = 44) were characterized by phenotypic and genotypic traits. Phenotypically, 96% showed yellow-pigmented colonies, 63% β/δ hemolysis, 85% were egg yolk-positive and 99% were positive for clumping factor/protein A. Only 25% of the strains were resistant to the antimicrobials tested (abattoir A: 19%; abattoir B: 39%), especially to penicillin and ampicillin. None of the strains harbored the mecA gene, which is conserved in methicillin-resistant S. aureus. The biofilm associated genes icaA, icaD and bap were present in 100%, 100% and 0% of the strains. Genes for staphylococcal enterotoxin (SE) were detected in 51% (abattoir A) and 14% of the strains (abattoir B). Among strains harboring SE genes (n = 56), 63%, 31%, 4% and 2% tested positive for seg/sei, seg, sei and sec, respectively. The amplification of the 3' end of the coagulase gene (coa) yielded amplicons of 400, 436, 602, 682 or 776 bp. Coa restriction profile (CRP) analysis using HaeIII resulted in seven patterns (a-d, e1-e3). CRP (c) was detected most frequently at both abattoirs, whereas CRP (a) was restricted to abattoir A and CRP (e3) to abattoir B. In the slaughter process (abattoir B), (i) two CRPs (b and d) were only found before dehairing/singeing, and (ii) four CRPs (c, e1-e3) were identified throughout the process. The genotyping revealed a remarkable homogeneity in S. aureus strains from the two different abattoirs and the slaughter process stages. These results may be explained by the distribution of a limited number of S. aureus genotypes in the pig population. Moreover, as the predominant CRPs (c, e1-e3) persisted throughout the slaughter process in abattoir B, it may be hypothesized that these types are characterized by colonization advantages.