Characteristics of the antimicrobial resistance ofStaphylococcus aureusisolated from chicken meat produced by different integrated broiler operations in Korea

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Vertical integration of the broiler industry allows producers to combine different biosecurity and sanitation practices, housing technologies, and feeding regimens to improve food safety. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and to characterize the antimicrobial-resistant isolates recovered from 7 different integrated broiler operation systems in Korea. Among 200 chicken meat samples, 94 were observed to be positive for S. aureus. However, the prevalence varied from 25.0 to 58.3% in chicken meats, indicating variation in S. aureus occurrence among the operations. Four methicillin-resistant S. aureus isolates (MRSA) were recovered from 3 different operations. A high proportion of the S. aureus isolates were resistant to penicillins (51.2%), tetracycline (38.8%), and ciprofloxacin (CIP; 33.9%). Especially, 3 different operations showed a high number of CIP resistance (45.5˜100%) and multidrug resistance (50.0˜100%). Among 41 CIP-resistant S. aureus isolates, 75.6% showed a double amino-acid exchange of both gyrA and parC, with CIP minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of ≥32 μg/mL. Four MRSA isolates showed resistance to 5 or 7 classes of antimicrobial agents, exhibiting oxacillin, CIP, and enrofloxacin MIC ranges of 16 to 128, 32 to 64, and 8 to 128 μg/mL, respectively, and had double mutations of S84L/S80F in gyrA/parC. Our findings suggest that S. aureus with resistance to important antimicrobial compounds can now be found in association with integrated broiler operations, providing the data to support the development of a monitoring and prevention program in integrated operations.

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