Hafnia, an enterobacterial genus naturally resistant to colistin revealed by three susceptibility testing methods

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To determine the susceptibility to colistin of Hafnia alvei and Hafnia paralvei, and to compare methods for colistin resistance detection in the Hafnia genus.


A collection of 25 Hafnia isolates was studied. Species were identified by using 16S rRNA gene sequencing with subsequent phylogeny analysis. Susceptibility to colistin was determined using the broth microdilution (BMD) reference method, the Phoenix automated system, the Rapid Polymyxin NP test, the Etest system and the disc diffusion method.


The collection consisted of 15 H. alvei and 10 H. paralvei isolates. Based on the 16S rRNA analysis, a close relationship of the Hafnia genus with naturally colistin-resistant enterobacterial genera (Proteus, Morganella, Providencia and Serratia) was identified. Susceptibility testing performed using the BMD method, the Phoenix automated system and the Rapid Polymyxin NP test revealed a high rate of colistin resistance (96%). Underestimation of colistin resistance using Etest strips (72%) and the disc diffusion method (0%) was observed.


The high rate of colistin resistance observed within the Hafnia genus and its close phylogenetic relationship with naturally colistin-resistant genera suggest that Hafnia is a naturally colistin-resistant enterobacterial genus.

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