Antimicrobial resistance in direct-fed microbial preparations used in cattle



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Kansas State University


The use of antimicrobials in animal feed has come under increasing scrutiny from the public and regulatory agencies. Direct-fed microbials (DFM) are considered valuable alternatives to antimicrobials in food animal nutrition. DFM are products containing live (viable microorganisms). Studies in Europe have reported antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in organisms used in DFM. This is of serious concern because of the potential for transferring resistance to pathogenic bacteria in the gut. The aim of the present study is to characterize phenotypic and genotypic AMR profiles for 20 different antimicrobials in bacterial strains isolated from 10 commercially available DFM used in. Two antimicrobial susceptibility testing methods, disc diffusion and broth micro-dilution based assay were performed. Enterococcus faecium isolates showed resistance towards metronidazole (n=9/9) with a MIC of > 32 μg/mL, erythromycin (n=5/9) with a MIC of ≥ 8 μg/mL, ciprofloxacin (n=2/9) with a MIC ≥ 4 μg/mL, ceftriaxone (n=6/9) with a MIC ≥ 0.25 μg/mL, rifampin (n=8/9) with a MIC of > 4 μg/mL, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (n=4/9) with a MIC ≥ 1 μg/mL and clindamycin (n=5/9) with a MIC of > 0.5 μg/mL. A Propionibacterium freudenreichii isolate showed resistance towards kanamycin with a MIC of > 64 μg/mL. The same strain also had a MIC of 16 μg/mL for levofloxacin. Two Lactobacillus acidophilus were resistant to vancomycin (n=2/6) with a MIC ≥ 32 μg/mL. All the Lactobacillus species including L. acidophilus (n=6), L. casei (n=4) and L. plantarum (n=2) were resistant to metronidazole, MIC > 32 μg/mL. Two strains of Bacillus subtilis showed resistance to clindamycin, with an MIC of 4 μg/mL and erythromycin with an MIC of > 8 μg/mL, and one strain had no zone of inhibition for metronidazole (MIC > 32 μg/mL). Microarray analysis revealed resistance genes in E. faecium strains of 3 different DFM, including aminoglycoside resistance genes, ant(4’)-Ia, erythromycin resistance genes, ere(A2) and ermB, tetracycline resistance genes, tet39, tet31, tetK and tetC, and beta-lactam resistance gene, pbp5. Conjugation with filter mating showed erythromycin resistance gene transfer, msrC gene, from donor strains to a recipient strain (E. faecium 45-24). These studies show that AMR is prevalent among bacterial strains used as DFM in the cattle industry in the U.S., justifying further characterization, detection and observation of transferable antibiotic resistance between the same genus. .



Antimicrobial Resistance, Direct-Fed Microbial

Graduation Month



Master of Science


Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology

Major Professor

Sanjeev K. Narayanan