Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 1399–1405 | Cite as

Virulence profiles of enterotoxigenic, shiga toxin and enteroaggregative Escherichia coli in South African pigs

  • Ramadimetja Prescilla Mohlatlole
  • Evelyn Madoroba
  • Farai Catherine Muchadeyi
  • Michael Chimonyo
  • Arnold Tapera Kanengoni
  • Edgar Farai DzombaEmail author
Regular Articles


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) and shiga toxin E. coli (STEC) are important causes of colibacillosis in piglets. Recently, enteroaggregative E. coli heat-stable enterotoxin 1 (EAST-1) has been implicated in pig diarrhoea. This study investigated the prevalence of enterotoxin [heat-labile toxins (LT), heat-stable toxin a (STa), heat-stable toxin b (STb)], shiga toxins (Stx1, Stx2, Stx2e), enteroaggregative heat-stable E. coli (EAST-1), associated fimbriae (F4, F5, F6, F41, F18ab, F18ac) and non-fimbrial adhesins [adhesin involved in diffuse adherence 1 (AIDA-1), attaching and effacing factor, porcine attaching- and effacing-associated factor] in South African pigs. A total of 263 E. coli strains were isolated from Landrace (n = 24), Large White (n = 126), Duroc (n = 28) and indigenous (n = 85) breeds of piglets aged between 9 and 136 days. PCR was used in the analysis. Virulent genes were detected in 40.3 % of the isolates, of which 18.6, 0.4 and 17.5 % were classified as ETEC, STEC and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), respectively. Individual genes were found in the following proportions: STb (19.01 %), LT (0.4 %), STa (3.4 %), St2xe (1.1 %) and EAST-1 (20.2 %) toxins. None of the tested fimbriae were detected in ETEC and STEC isolates. About one third of the ETEC and STEC isolates was tested negative for both fimbrial and non-fimbrial adhesins. Twenty-five pathotypes from ETEC-, EAEC- and STEC-positive strains were identified. Pathotypes EAST-1 (30.2 %), STb (13.2 %) and STb/AIDA-1 (10.4 %) were most prevalent. The study provided insight on possible causes of colibacillosis in South African pigs.


Diarrhoea Oedema Escherichia coli Pigs 



Adhesin involved in diffuse adherence 1


Colonisation factors


Attaching and effacing factor


Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli


Enteroaggregative E. coli heat-stable enterotoxin


Enterotoxigenic E. coli


Heat-labile toxins


Porcine attaching- and effacing-associated factor


Polymerase chain reaction


Heat-stable toxin a


Heat-stable toxin b


Shiga toxin E. coli


Shiga toxins variant 1


Shiga toxins variant 2


Shiga toxins variant 2e



This study was funded by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Competitive Research Grant and the National Research Foundation. We thank Mary Ranketse for assisting with laboratory work. We are also grateful to the ARC, Animal Production Institute (Irene) and Middledrift farm for the pigs. The ARC-OVI Bacteriology Department provided E. coli reference samples.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to research, authorship and publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramadimetja Prescilla Mohlatlole
    • 1
  • Evelyn Madoroba
    • 2
  • Farai Catherine Muchadeyi
    • 3
  • Michael Chimonyo
    • 4
  • Arnold Tapera Kanengoni
    • 5
  • Edgar Farai Dzomba
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Discipline of Genetics, School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Bacteriology SectionAgricultural Research Council–Onderstepoort Veterinary InstituteOnderstepoortSouth Africa
  3. 3.Biotechnology PlatformAgricultural Research CouncilOnderstepoortSouth Africa
  4. 4.Discipline of Animal and Poultry SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa
  5. 5.Agricultural Research CouncilAnimal Production InstituteIreneSouth Africa

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