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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2007 Nov;60(5):1137-41. Epub 2007 Sep 13.

Characterization of CTX-M and SHV extended-spectrum beta-lactamases and associated resistance genes in Escherichia coli strains of food samples in Tunisia.

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Laboratoire MBA, Département de Biologie, Faculté de Sciences de Tunis, Campus Universitaire, 2092 Tunis, Tunisia.



To assess the occurrence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) in Escherichia coli isolates of faecal samples of animals (n = 40) and food samples (n = 38) obtained in Tunisia in 2006, and to characterize the type of ESBLs, their genetic environments and the associated resistance genes.


Samples were inoculated in supplemented media (2 mg/L cefotaxime) for isolation of broad-spectrum cephalosporin-resistant E. coli isolates (one isolate/sample). ESBLs and their genetic environments as well as integrons and their gene cassette composition were characterized by PCR and sequencing.


ESBL-producing E. coli isolates were detected in 10 of the 38 food samples analysed (26%) and in none of the tested animal faecal samples. Genes found were as follows (number of isolates): bla(CTX-M-1) (5), bla(CTX-M-1) + bla(TEM-1b) (1), bla(CTX-M-14) + bla(TEM-1b) (2), bla(CTX-M-8) (1) and bla(SHV-5) (1). All ESBL-positive isolates showed unrelated PFGE patterns. ISEcp1 and IS903 were detected surrounding bla(CTX-M-14), and ISEcp1/IS26 and orf477 surrounding some of the bla(CTX-M-1) genes. Four of the ESBL-positive strains harboured class 1 integrons including different gene cassette combinations.


ESBLs, mainly of the CTX-M class, are detected in E. coli of food origin in Tunisia, being the first time that this mechanism has been detected in food E. coli strains in Africa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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