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Int J Food Microbiol. 2000 Dec 5;62(1-2):57-63.

Occurrence of and a possible mechanism for resistance to a quaternary ammonium compound in Listeria monocytogenes.

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The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Oslo.


In a study of 200 Listeria monocytogenes isolates, 10% were determined to be resistant to benzalkonium chloride (BC). Serial subcultivation of initially BC sensitive (BC(S)) and BC resistant (BC(R)) isolates in sublethal concentrations of BC resulted in enhanced and approximately equal resistance of all strains to the compound. Fifty per cent of the BC(R) isolates showed resistance to ethidium bromide (EB) as well. A proton motive force (pmf)-dependent efflux of EB was demonstrated in BC(R) isolates, and in originally sensitive strains adapted to grow in BC. This efflux was not found in BC(S) strains. The result indicate that BC can induce a broad resistance mechanism based on a pmf-driven efflux pump. There was no indication that this type of resistance was related to resistance to antibiotics.

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