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Int J Food Microbiol. 1999 Jun 1;48(3):211-9.

Identification and characterization of quaternary ammonium compound resistant staphylococci from the food industry.

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MATFORSK, Norwegian Food Research Institute, As, Norway.


The distribution of known genes conferring resistance to quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) among different species of staphylococci isolated from the food industry was investigated. Twenty-four isolates hosting one of the genes qacA/qacB, smr, qacG or qacH, were subjected to species identification. Species determination was performed by biochemical analyses (API STAPH), comparative 16S rDNA sequence analysis and tDNA intergenic spacer length polymorphism analysis. Good correlation was obtained between the different methods. The isolates belonged to six different species of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus. The most commonly found species were Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus saprophyticus. The results also indicated the possible spread of specific isolates of staphylococci which may reflect the dominance of certain strains in environments were QACs are used on a regular basis. The isolates were further characterized by the resistance phenotype to antimicrobial agents including antibiotics and disinfectants. Resistance to ampicillin, penicillin G and dyes was prevalent in strains harbouring the qacA or qacB genes, features also common among clinical staphylococci containing qacA/qacB. One QAC resistant strain harbouring the smr gene showed resistance to ampicillin, penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin and trimethoprim. No enterotoxin production was detected among the QAC resistant strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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