Adaptation to a Commercial Quaternary Ammonium Compound Sanitizer Leads to Cross-Resistance to Select Antibiotics in Listeria monocytogenes Isolated From Fresh Produce Environments.
ABSTRACT: The effective elimination of Listeria monocytogenes through cleaning and sanitation is of great importance to the food processing industry. Specifically in fresh produce operations, the lack of a kill step requires effective cleaning and sanitation to mitigate the risk of cross-contamination from the environment. As facilities rely on sanitizers to control L. monocytogenes, reports of the development of tolerance to sanitizers and other antimicrobials through cross-resistance is of particular concern. We investigated the potential for six L. monocytogenes isolates from fresh produce handling and processing facilities and packinghouses to develop cross-resistance between a commercial sanitizer and antibiotics. Experimental adaptation of isolates belonging to hypervirulent clonal complexes (CC2, CC4, and CC6) to a commercial quaternary ammonium compound sanitizer (cQAC) resulted in elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (2-3 ppm) and minimum bactericidal concentrations (3-4 ppm). Susceptibility to cQAC was restored for all adapted (qAD) isolates in the presence of reserpine, a known efflux pump inhibitor. Reduced sensitivity to 7/17 tested antibiotics (chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, kanamycin, novobiocin, penicillin, and streptomycin) was observed in all tested isolates. qAD isolates remained susceptible to antibiotics commonly used in the treatment of listeriosis (i.e., ampicillin and gentamicin). The whole genome sequencing of qAD strains, followed by comparative genomic analysis, revealed several mutations in fepR, the regulator for FepA fluoroquinolone efflux pump. The results suggest that mutations in fepR play a role in the reduction in antibiotic susceptibility following low level adaptation to cQAC. Further investigation into the cross-resistance mechanisms and pressures leading to the development of this phenomenon among L. monocytogenes isolates recovered from different sources is needed to better understand the likelihood of cross-resistance development in food chain isolates and the implications for the food industry.
PROVIDER: S-EPMC8784610 | BioStudies |