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Vet Microbiol. 2009 Oct 20;139(1-2):89-96. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.04.023. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

Isolation of bacterial strains from bovine fecal microflora capable of degradation of ceftiofur.

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Division of Microbiology, National Center for Toxicological Research, US Food and Drug Administration, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA.


Ceftiofur, a third-generation cephalosporin used to treat bacterial infections in animals, is degraded in bovine feces but the specific bacteria involved are unknown. To find the bacteria involved in ceftiofur metabolism, the bovine fecal microflora was screened. Twenty-one nonidentical strains of bovine fecal bacteria were isolated on media containing 1-32 microg ml(-1) of ceftiofur. The cultures were incubated with 5 microg ml(-1) ceftiofur for different times, then centrifuged and analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. Three strains of Bacillus spp., two strains of Roseomonas spp., and one strain of Azospirillum sp. metabolized 5 microg ml(-1) ceftiofur in broth cultures in less than 24h; ten other strains of Roseomonas and one strain of Bacillus pumilus had metabolized it by 120 h. After the ceftiofur had been metabolized by these bacteria, the filter-sterilized supernatants of centrifuged cultures no longer inhibited the growth of a ceftiofur-sensitive strain of Kocuria rhizophila, which indicated that ceftiofur had been transformed to compounds without bactericidal activity. Each isolate was also found to be able to grow in the presence of other beta-lactams, and a nitrocefin assay showed beta-lactamase activity in the 17 strains that metabolized ceftiofur. The results show that some beta-lactamase-producing bacteria from the bovine fecal microflora are capable of transforming ceftiofur to metabolites lacking bactericidal activity.

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