Molecular and phenotypic characterization of enterococci isolated from broiler flocks in Turkey.


Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Hatay Mustafa Kemal University, 31060, Hatay, Turkey. [Email]


The aim of this study was to determine the antimicrobial resistance, resistance mechanisms implicated, and virulence genes (asa1, gelE, cylA, esp, and hyl) of Enterococcus spp. isolated from broiler flocks in Turkey. In addition, clonality of ampicillin and vancomycin-resistant enterococci was also investigated using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Out of 430 cloacal swab samples investigated, 336 (78.1%) Enterococcus spp. was isolated. The most frequently identified species were E. faecalis (87.8%), E. faecium (8.3%), E. durans (2.4%), E. casseliflavus (0.9%), and E. hirae (0.6%). The most common resistance was against tetracycline (81.3%), erythromycin (77.1%), ciprofloxacin (56.8%), and chloramphenicol (46.4%). Fifty (14.9%) isolates showed high-level gentamicin resistance (HLGL) phenotype. Ampicillin and vancomycin resistance were observed in 3.3% and 1.5% of the isolates, respectively. Two hundred eighty-three isolates were positive for the presence of virulence genes. Among the virulence genes tested, only gelE, asa1, esp, and cylA genes were detected. The most prevalent virulence gene was gelE (234, 69.6%), followed by asa1 (160, 47.6%), esp (37, 11%), and cylA (2, 0.6%). In conclusion, this study revealed that commensal enterococci from broiler flocks showed high rate of resistance to antimicrobials including clinically important antimicrobials for humans. The main underlying reason for high resistance could be attributed to the inappropriate and widespread use of antimicrobials. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop control strategies to prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.


Antimicrobial resistance,Broiler,Enterococci,Molecular characterization,Virulence,