Interspecific conjugal transfer of antibiotic resistance among staphylococci isolated from the bovine mammary gland

Ghulam Muhammad From the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hoblet, Jackwood, Bech-Nielsen) and Department of Dairy Science (Smith), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Kent H. Hoblet From the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hoblet, Jackwood, Bech-Nielsen) and Department of Dairy Science (Smith), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Daral J. Jackwood From the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hoblet, Jackwood, Bech-Nielsen) and Department of Dairy Science (Smith), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Steen Bech-Nielsen From the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hoblet, Jackwood, Bech-Nielsen) and Department of Dairy Science (Smith), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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K. Larry Smith From the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Hoblet, Jackwood, Bech-Nielsen) and Department of Dairy Science (Smith), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Summary

In vitro transferability of pemcillm. strepiomycin, tetracycline, and erythromycin resistance from coagulase-negative staphylococci to Staphylococcus aureus and among the former species of bovine mammary gland origin was examined by bacterial mating on filters and by mixed-culture matings in broth and in skim milk. One hundred twenty-six (42 each on filter, in broth, and in skim milk) matings were performed among 37 isolates of different Staphylococcus species. Transfer of resistance to penicillin, tetracycline, or erythromycin was not detected. Of 51 matings performed to determine streptomycin-resistance transfer, 9 (3 each on filters, in broth, and skim milk) were successful. Nine strains representing 3 species of coagulase-negative staphylococci were tested as prospective donors of streptomycin resistance. Of these, 2 strains could transfer streptomycin resistance. A double-resistant donor, Shominis, not only transferred its streptomycin resistance to an S chromogenes strain lacking resistance, but also to an S aureus strain already carrying penicillin and tetracycline resistance. The transfer of streptomycin resistance from the donor S hominis, harboring 2 plasmids, to a plasmidless S chromogenes recipient strain was associated with apparent acquisition of the smaller plasmid of the donor by the recipient. The single-resistant donor, S epidermidis 681A, transferred streptomycin resistance to a tetracycline-resistant. S aureus recipient. This strain however failed to transfer its streptomycin resistance to another S aureus, 2 S hyicus, and 1 S xylosus recipient. Frequency of transfer of streptomycin resistance ranged from 1.1 × 10−5 to 1 × 10−4. When transfer of resistance was successful, attempts were made to characterize the transfer process. Conjugation appeared to be the mode of streptomycin-resistance transfer. Transfer of resistance between staphylococci of bovine mammary gland origin appears to be fairly uncommon. However, in view of the limitations of the procedures used, additional in vitro and in vivo work is needed to further assess the role of coagulase-negative staphylococci in dissemination of antibiotic resistance.

Summary

In vitro transferability of pemcillm. strepiomycin, tetracycline, and erythromycin resistance from coagulase-negative staphylococci to Staphylococcus aureus and among the former species of bovine mammary gland origin was examined by bacterial mating on filters and by mixed-culture matings in broth and in skim milk. One hundred twenty-six (42 each on filter, in broth, and in skim milk) matings were performed among 37 isolates of different Staphylococcus species. Transfer of resistance to penicillin, tetracycline, or erythromycin was not detected. Of 51 matings performed to determine streptomycin-resistance transfer, 9 (3 each on filters, in broth, and skim milk) were successful. Nine strains representing 3 species of coagulase-negative staphylococci were tested as prospective donors of streptomycin resistance. Of these, 2 strains could transfer streptomycin resistance. A double-resistant donor, Shominis, not only transferred its streptomycin resistance to an S chromogenes strain lacking resistance, but also to an S aureus strain already carrying penicillin and tetracycline resistance. The transfer of streptomycin resistance from the donor S hominis, harboring 2 plasmids, to a plasmidless S chromogenes recipient strain was associated with apparent acquisition of the smaller plasmid of the donor by the recipient. The single-resistant donor, S epidermidis 681A, transferred streptomycin resistance to a tetracycline-resistant. S aureus recipient. This strain however failed to transfer its streptomycin resistance to another S aureus, 2 S hyicus, and 1 S xylosus recipient. Frequency of transfer of streptomycin resistance ranged from 1.1 × 10−5 to 1 × 10−4. When transfer of resistance was successful, attempts were made to characterize the transfer process. Conjugation appeared to be the mode of streptomycin-resistance transfer. Transfer of resistance between staphylococci of bovine mammary gland origin appears to be fairly uncommon. However, in view of the limitations of the procedures used, additional in vitro and in vivo work is needed to further assess the role of coagulase-negative staphylococci in dissemination of antibiotic resistance.

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