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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2013 Aug 7;10(8):3453-64. doi: 10.3390/ijerph10083453.

Arsenic resistance and prevalence of arsenic resistance genes in Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli isolated from retail meats.

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Department of Biological Science, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA.


Studies that investigate arsenic resistance in the foodborne bacterium Campylobacter are limited. A total of 552 Campylobacter isolates (281 Campylobacter jejuni and 271 Campylobacter coli) isolated from retail meat samples were subjected to arsenic resistance profiling using the following arsenic compounds: arsanilic acid (4-2,048 μg/mL), roxarsone (4-2048 μg/mL), arsenate (16-8,192 μg/mL) and arsenite (4-2,048 μg/mL). A total of 223 of these isolates (114 Campylobacter jejuni and 109 Campylobacter coli) were further analyzed for the presence of five arsenic resistance genes (arsP, arsR, arsC, acr3, and arsB) by PCR. Most of the 552 Campylobacter isolates were able to survive at higher concentrations of arsanilic acid (512-2,048 μg/mL), roxarsone (512-2,048 μg/mL), and arsenate (128-1,024 μg/mL), but at lower concentrations for arsenite (4-16 μg/mL). Ninety seven percent of the isolates tested by PCR showed the presence of arsP and arsR genes. While 95% of the Campylobacter coli isolates contained a larger arsenic resistance operon that has all of the four genes (arsP, arsR, arsC and acr3), 85% of the Campylobacter jejuni isolates carried the short operon (arsP, and arsR). The presence of arsC and acr3 did not significantly increase arsenic resistance with the exception of conferring resistance to higher concentrations of arsenate to some Campylobacter isolates. arsB was prevalent in 98% of the tested Campylobacter jejuni isolates, regardless of the presence or absence of arsC and acr3, but was completely absent in Campylobacter coli. To our knowledge, this is the first study to determine arsenic resistance and the prevalence of arsenic resistance genes in such a large number of Campylobacter isolates.

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