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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Oct;76(19):6377-86. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00813-10. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

Genotype and antibiotic resistance analyses of Campylobacter isolates from ceca and carcasses of slaughtered broiler flocks.

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Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.


To obtain genetic information about Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli from broilers and carcasses at slaughterhouses, we analyzed and compared 340 isolates that were collected in 2008 from the cecum right after slaughter or from the neck skin after processing. We performed rpoB sequence-based identification, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and flaB sequence-based typing; we additionally analyzed mutations within the 23S rRNA and gyrA genes that confer resistance to macrolide and quinolone antibiotics, respectively. The rpoB-based identification resulted in a distribution of 72.0% C. jejuni and 28.0% C. coli. The MLST analysis revealed that there were 59 known sequence types (STs) and 6 newly defined STs. Most of the STs were grouped into 4 clonal complexes (CC) that are typical for poultry (CC21, CC45, CC257, and CC828), and these represented 61.8% of all of the investigated isolates. The analysis of 95 isolates from the cecum and from the corresponding carcass neck skin covered 44 different STs, and 54.7% of the pairs had matching genotypes. The data indicate that cross-contamination from various sources during slaughter may occur, although the majority of Campylobacter contamination on carcasses appeared to originate from the slaughtered flock itself. Mutations in the 23S rRNA gene were found in 3.1% of C. coli isolates, although no mutations were found in C. jejuni isolates. Mutations in the gyrA gene were observed in 18.9% of C. jejuni and 26.8% of C. coli isolates, which included two C. coli strains that carried mutations conferring resistance to both classes of antibiotics. A relationship between specific genotypes and antibiotic resistance/susceptibility was observed.

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