Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Microbiology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Antimicrobial resistance profiling and molecular subtyping of Campylobacter spp. from processed turkey

Ellen M Lutgen, John M McEvoy, Julie S Sherwood and Catherine M Logue*

Author Affiliations

Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Microbiology 2009, 9:203  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-203

Published: 21 September 2009



Campylobacter is a major cause of human disease worldwide and poultry are identified as a significant source of this pathogen. Most disease in humans is associated with the consumption of contaminated poultry or cross-contamination with other foods. The primary drugs of choice for treatment of human campylobacteriosis include erythromycin and ciprofloxacin. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of resistance to erythromycin and ciprofloxacin in Campylobacter isolates recovered from turkey carcasses at two processing plants in the Upper Midwest US. Further analysis of a subset of isolates was carried out to assess resistance and genotype profiles.


Campylobacter isolates from plant A (n = 439; including 196 C. coli and 217 C. jejuni) and plant B (n = 362, including 281 C. coli and 62 C. jejuni) were tested for susceptibility to ciprofloxacin and erythromycin using agar dilution. C. coli were more frequently resistant than C. jejuni in both plants, including resistance to ciprofloxacin (28% of C. jejuni and 63% of C. coli, plant B; and 11% of C. coli, plant A). Erythromycin resistance was low among C. jejuni (0% plant A and 0.3% plant B) compared to C. coli (41%, plant A and 17%, plant B). One hundred resistant and susceptible isolates were selected for additional antimicrobial susceptibility testing, restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the flaA gene (fla typing), and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Fla-PFGE types obtained (n = 37) were associated with a specific plant with the exception of one type that was isolated from both plants. C. coli isolates (n = 65) were grouped into 20 types, while C. jejuni isolates (n = 35) were grouped into 17 types. Most isolates with identical fla-PFGE patterns shared identical or very similar antimicrobial resistance profiles. PFGE alone and composite analysis using fla-PFGE with resistance profiles separated C. jejuni and C. coli into distinct groups.


Ciprofloxacin and erythromycin resistance in Campylobacter recovered from processed turkey occurred more frequently among C. coli than C. jejuni. Fla-PFGE types were associated with a particular species, antimicrobial resistance profiles, and a specific plant. Molecular subtyping in this study provided more information about the relationships among antimicrobial-resistant Campylobacter at the processing level.