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Open Access Research article

High prevalence of Cfr-producing Staphylococcus species in retail meat in Guangzhou, China

Zhen-Ling Zeng1, Hong-Kun Wei1, Jing Wang1, Da-Chuan Lin2, Xiao-Qin Liu1 and Jian-Hua Liu1*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Veterinary Medicine, National Reference Laboratory of Veterinary Drug Residues (SCAU), South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China

2 Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:151  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-151

Published: 9 June 2014

Abstract

Background

The emergence and wide distribution of the transferable gene for linezolid resistance, cfr, in staphylococci of human and animal origins is of great concern as it poses a serious threat to the public health. In the present study, we investigated the emergence and presence of the multiresistance gene, cfr, in retail meat sourced from supermarkets and free markets of Guangzhou, China.

Results

A total of 118 pork and chicken samples, collected from Guangzhou markets, were screened by PCR for cfr. Twenty-two Staphylococcus isolates obtained from 12 pork and 10 chicken samples harbored cfr. The 22 cfr-positive staphylococci isolates, including Staphylococcus equorum (n = 8), Staphylococcus simulans (n = 7), Staphylococcus cohnii (n = 4), and Staphylococcus sciuri (n = 3), exhibited 17 major SmaI pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns. In 14 isolates, cfr was located on the plasmids. Sequence analysis revealed that the genetic structures (including ΔtnpA of Tn558, IS21-558, ΔtnpB, and tnpC of Tn558, orf138, fexA) of cfr in plasmid pHNTLD18 of a S. sciuri strain and in the plasmid pHNLKJC2 (including rep, Δpre/mob, cfr, pre/mob and partial ermC) of a S. equorum strain were identical or similar to the corresponding regions of some plasmids in staphylococcal species of animal and human origins.

Conclusions

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report the presence of the multiresistance gene, cfr, in animal meat. A high occurrence of cfr was observed in the tested retail meat samples. Thus, it is important to monitor the presence of cfr in animal foods in China.

Keywords:
Plasmids; Linezolid; Staphylococcus spp; Food safety; Resistance epidemiology