Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 56, Issue 9–10, pp 755–763

Spread of antibiotic resistance with food-borne pathogens

  • M. Teuber

Abstract.

This short review summarizes data on antibiotic resistance profiles of common food-borne pathogens like Salmonella sp., Escherichia coli, Campylobacter sp., Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens, Staphylococcus aureus, and coagulase-negative staphylococci. As a flashlight on the literature of the last few years, it provides ample evidence that antibiotic resistance traits have entered the microflora of farm animals and the food produced from them. Molecular analysis of the resistance genes, where available, shows that the food microflora is not separated from its human counterpart and conjugative transfer of resistance genes has been demonstrated in vitro and in a few cases in vivo. For example, for Salmonella typhimurium, resistance towards tetracyclines has increased from zero in 1948 to a 98% level in certain epidemic populations of S. typhimurium DT104 in 1998. The high incidence of food-borne pathogens in raw meat and milk together with a high level of therapeutic, prophylactic and nutritional application of antibiotics in agriculture reveals an antibiotic resistance problem of global dimensions. The resistance problem in human medicine will not be solved if there is a constant influx of resistance genes into the human microflora via the food chain.

Key words. Food-borne pathogens; antibiotic resistance; enterobacteria; Listeria; Clostridium. 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel, 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Teuber
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Food Microbiology, Department of Food Science, ETH Zurich, CH-8092 Zurich (Switzerland), Fax +41 1 632 1266, e-mail: teuber@ilw.agrl.ethz.chCH

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