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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2003 Apr;51(4):865-85. Epub 2003 Mar 13.

Natural antimicrobial susceptibilities of strains of 'unusual' Serratia species: S. ficaria, S. fonticola, S. odorifera, S. plymuthica and S. rubidaea.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Immunologie, Pharmazeutische Mikrobiologie, Meckenheimer Allee 168, University of Bonn, D-53115 Bonn, Germany.


The natural susceptibility to 71 antibiotics of 104 Serratia strains of Serratia ficaria (n = 15), Serratia fonticola (n = 18), Serratia odorifera (n = 16), Serratia plymuthica (n = 32) and Serratia rubidaea (n = 23) was examined. MICs were determined using a microdilution procedure in IsoSensitest broth for all the strains and in cation-adjusted Mueller-Hinton broth for some strains. With few exceptions, all species tested were uniformly naturally resistant to penicillin G, oxacillin, cefazolin, cefuroxime, all tested macrolides, lincosamides, streptogramins, glycopeptides, fusidic acid and rifampicin, and naturally sensitive to several aminoglycosides, piperacillin, piperacillin/tazobactam, carbapenems, some cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and folate-pathway inhibitors. Major species-related differences in natural susceptibility affecting clinical assessment criteria were seen with tetracyclines, some aminoglycosides, aminopenicillins, ticarcillin, cefaclor, loracarbef, cefoxitin, pipemidic acid, chloramphenicol, nitrofurantoin and fosfomycin. Differences in susceptibility dependent on the medium were seen with macrolides, tetracycline, fosfomycin and some beta-lactams. The natural antibiotic susceptibility patterns suggest novel species-specific mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Uncharacterized species-specific aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes and multidrug efflux systems affecting tetracyclines, quinolones and chloramphenicol are probably responsible for some of the phenotypes observed. The natural amoxicillin sensitivity of several strains of some species combined with natural resistance to some narrow-spectrum cephalosporins indicate the expression of naturally occurring beta-lactamases with unique substrate profiles. beta-Lactamases of representative strains of each species were characterized phenotypically and genotypically. It was shown that all species expressed naturally occurring AmpC beta-lactamases and, with respect to S. fonticola, also a species-specific class A beta-lactamase. Inducibility of these enzymes was shown in all species with the exception of S. rubidaea and four of five strains of S. plymuthica.

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