Distribution and transferability of tetracycline resistance determinants in Escherichia coli isolated from meat and meat products

Hyon Ji Koo, Gun Jo Woo

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65 Citations (Scopus)


Escherichia coli is used to assess the hygienic quality of food products and the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance. In particular, tetracycline-resistant E. coli can be chosen as an indicator of antibiotic resistant bacteria because it has a high frequency of occurrence. The purpose of this study was to investigate the distribution and transfer of tetracycline resistance determinants in meatborne E. coli. A total of 121 tetracycline-resistant E. coli isolates were collected from meat and meat products (raw meat, fish, and processed foods) from 2004 to 2006 in Korea. Among these isolates, tet(A) (52.4%) was the most frequent tetracycline resistance determinant, followed by tet(B) (41.3%), whereas tet(C) (1.7%) and tet(D) (0.8%) were less frequently identified. Two isolates (1.6%) contained two tet genes simultaneously, tet(A) and tet(B). Minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) to tetracycline family antibiotics, such as tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline, oxytetracycline, and chlortetracycline were higher for isolates carrying the tet(B) gene compared to isolates carrying tet(A) (P<0.0001). Conjugation experiments were performed by the broth mating method; 119 isolates (98.3%) containing at least one of the tet genes were shown to transfer tetracycline resistance to recipient E. coli J53. Also, we observed high diversity of tetracycline-resistant E. coli isolates in meat and meat products in Korea by using XbaI pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) typing. This study suggests that the high prevalence of tetracycline-resistant E. coli in meat may be due to the high transferability of tet determinants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb 28


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • E. coli
  • PFGE
  • Tet
  • Tetracycline resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology


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