Antibiotic Resistance Genes, Virulence Factors, and Biofilm Formation in Coagulase-Negative Staphylococcus spp. Isolates from European Hakes (Merluccius merluccius, L.) Caught in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean

Lara Díaz-Formoso, Vanessa Silva, Diogo Contente, Javier Feito, Pablo E. Hernández, Juan Borrero, Gilberto Igrejas, Rosa del Campo, Estefanía Muñoz-Atienza, Patrícia Poeta, Luis M. Cintas

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Abstract

The indiscriminate use of antibiotics has contributed to the dissemination of multiresistant bacteria, which represents a public health concern. The aim of this work was to characterize 27 coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) isolated from eight wild Northeast Atlantic hakes (Merluccius merluccius, L.) and taxonomically identified as Staphylococcus epidermidis (n = 16), Staphylococcus saprophyticus (n = 4), Staphylococcus hominis (n = 3), Staphylococcus pasteuri (n = 2), Staphylococcus edaphicus (n = 1), and Staphylococcus capitis (n = 1). Biofilm formation was evaluated with a microtiter assay, antibiotic susceptibility testing was performed using the disk diffusion method, and antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants were detected by PCR. Our results showed that all staphylococci produced biofilms and that 92.6% of the isolates were resistant to at least one antibiotic, mainly penicillin (88.8%), fusidic acid (40.7%), and erythromycin (37%). The penicillin resistance gene (blaZ) was detected in 66.6% (18) of the isolates, of which 10 also carried resistance genes to macrolides and lincosamides (mphC, msr(A/B), lnuA, or vgaA), 4 to fusidic acid (fusB), and 3 to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (dfrA). At least one virulence gene (scn, hla, SCCmecIII, and/or SCCmecV) was detected in 48% of the isolates. This study suggests that wild European hake destined for human consumption could act as a vector of CoNS carrying antibiotic resistance genes and/or virulence factors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1447
Number of pages17
JournalPathogens
Volume12
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • antibiotic resistance
  • antimicrobial activity
  • biofilm formation
  • European hakes (Merluccius merluccius, L.)
  • Staphylococcusspp
  • virulence factors

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