Acta Vet. Brno 2020, 89: 401-411

Assessment of antibiotic resistance in starter and non-starter lactobacilli of food origin

Marta Dušková1,2, Monika Morávková2, Jakub Mrázek3, Martina Florianová2, Lenka Vorlová1, Renáta Karpíšková1,2

1University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, Department of Animal Origin Food and Gastronomic Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic
2Veterinary Research Institute, Brno, Czech Republic
3Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics, Prague, Czech Republic

Received June 1, 2020
Accepted December 21, 2020

The absence of acquired resistance to antimicrobials has become an important criterion in evaluation of the biosafety of lactobacilli used as industrial starter or probiotic cultures. The aim of this study was to assess antibiotic resistance in starter and non-starter lactobacilli of food origin. Minimal inhibitory concentrations of ampicillin, chloramphenicol, clindamycin, erythromycin, gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin, tetracycline and vancomycin were established in 81 strains of lactobacilli (L. acidophilus, L. animalis, L. brevis, L. curvatus, L. delbrueckii, L. fermentum, L. helveticus, L. paracasei, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus and L. sakei) by the microdilution method. The strains were classified as susceptible or resistant to antimicrobials based on the cut-off values according to the EFSA guideline. Sixty-two strains (77% food isolates, 76% starter or adjunct cultures) were resistant to at least one antimicrobial agent (the most frequently to aminoglycosides). Adjunct cultures showed a higher antibiotic resistance (80%) than starters (60%). Four multiresistant strains (3 food isolates, 1 adjunct culture) were analyzed by whole genome sequencing. One potentially transferable aadE gene (responsible for streptomycin resistance) was detected only in one multi-drug resistant strain of L. animalis originating from an adjunct culture. Thus, there is a risk of horizontal transmission of this gene. It is necessary to eliminate such strains from use in the food industry. This study provides relevant data concerning the use of lactobacilli in safe food production. To ensure food safety, detailed characterization of resistance to antimicrobials is necessary not only in starter strains but also in non-starter lactic acid bacteria isolated from food products.


This work was supported by the project of the Ministry of Agriculture NAZV KUS QJ 1510338. We thank Ing. Miloslava Kavková, PhD, for providing the starter strains and Ing. Hana Vlková for her technical assistance in MIC determination.


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