, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 209-217
Date: 24 Jun 2007

Dominant chloramphenicol-resistant bacteria and resistance genes in coastal marine waters of Jiaozhou Bay, China

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Abstract

Studies of abundance, diversity and distribution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their resistance determinants are necessary for effective prevention and control of antibiotic resistance and its dissemination, critically important for public health and environment management. In order to gain an understanding of the persistence of resistance in the absence of a specific antibiotic selective pressure, microbiological surveys were carried out to investigate chloramphenicol-resistant bacteria and the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase resistance genes in Jiaozhou Bay after chloramphenicol was banned since 1999 in China. About 0.15–6.70% cultivable bacteria were chloramphenicol resistant, and the highest abundances occurred mainly in the areas near river mouths or sewage processing plants. For the dominant resistant isolates, 14 genera and 25 species were identified, mostly being indigenous estuarine or marine bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant potential human or marine animal pathogens, such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis and Shewanella algae, were also identified. For the molecular resistance determinants, the cat I and cat III genes could be detected in some of the resistant strains, and they might have the same origins as those from clinical strains as determined via gene sequence analysis. Further investigation about the biological, environmental and anthropogenic mechanisms and their interactions that may contribute to the persistence of antibiotic-resistance in coastal marine waters in the absence of specific antibiotic selective pressure is necessary for tackling this complicated environmental issue.