Research – Antimicrobial Resistance and Virulence Characterization of Listeria monocytogenes Strains Isolated from Food and Food Processing Environments


Listeria monocytogenes is a particularly foodborne pathogen associated with listeriosis, which can be disseminated in food and food processing environments. This study aimed to determine the serotypes and characteristics of virulence factors and antibiotic resistance among 40 L. monocytogenes strains isolated from food (n = 27) purchased in Olsztyn (Warmia and Mazury region, Poland) and food processing environments in Poland (n = 13). Isolates were assigned to serotypes 1/2a, 1/2c, 3a, and 3c using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The results showed that serotype 1/2a (66.7%) was the most prevalent among strains from food, and serotype 1/2c (53.8%) among strains from the food processing environments. Five different virulence factors (hlyA, prfA, inlB, luxS, sigB) were detected in all isolates from the food processing environments using PCR. The hlyA (100.0%), prfA (100.0%), and inlB (96.3%) were the most prevalent in food strains. Seven (25.9%) of the strains of food and ten (76.9%) strains from the food processing environments showed the ability to form biofilm. The tested isolates were subjected to antibiotic susceptibility testing against 12 antibiotics used in the mitigation of listeriosis, using the disk diffusion method. The most frequent were intermediate resistance and resistance to clindamycin. Twelve (92.3%) strains from the food processing environments, and twenty-three (85.2%) from food were non-susceptible to clindamycin. Generally, antibacterial resistance determinants (LdeaadBaac(3)-IIa(aacC2)apenAmefAlnuAlnuBsulI, sulII) were detected in sixteen (59.0%) strains from food and four (30.8%) from the food processing environments, by PCR. The most frequent were the mefA-lnuA (n = 7; 20.0%) and lnuA (n = 6; 17.1%) genotypes. From this research, we can conclude that virulent and antimicrobial-resistant strains of L. monocytogenes are present in food and the food processing environment in Poland, which may pose a potential health risk to consumers. Monitoring for the control of virulent and antimicrobial-resistant L. monocytogenes strains in the food system can contribute to effective planning and prevention of their spread.

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