[Source: PLOS One, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
OPEN ACCESS / PEER-REVIEWED / RESEARCH ARTICLE
Thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. in chicken and bovine meat in Italy: Prevalence, level of contamination and molecular characterization of isolates
Elisabetta Di Giannatale, Paolo Calistri, Guido Di Donato , Lucia Decastelli, Elisa Goffredo, Daniela Adriano, Maria Emanuela Mancini, Annamaria Galleggiante, Diana Neri, Salvatore Antoci, Cristina Marfoglia, Francesca Marotta, Roberta Nuvoloni, Giacomo Migliorati
Published: December 6, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225957
Campylobacter species are common foodborne pathogens associated with cases of human gastroenteritis worldwide. A detailed understanding of the prevalence, contamination levels and molecular characteristics of Campylobacter spp. in cattle and chicken, which are likely the most important sources of human contamination, is imperative. A collection of 1243 poultry meat samples (665 chicken breasts and 578 chicken thighs) and 1203 bovine meat samples (689 hamburgers and 514 knife-cut meat preparations) were collected at retail outlets, in randomly selected supermarkets located in different Italian regions during one year. Of these samples, 17.38% of the poultry meat and 0.58% of the bovine meat samples tested positive for Campylobacter, of which 131 were Campylobacter jejuni (57.96%) and 95 were Campylobacter coli (42.03%). Campylobacter isolates were genotyped with the aim of assessing the genetic diversity, population structure, source distribution and Campylobacter transmission route to humans. All isolates were molecularly characterized by pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and further genotyped using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and fla-SVR sequencing to gain better insight into the population structure. Antibiotic resistance was also investigate. The highest levels of resistance among chicken strains were observed for ciprofloxacin (88.25%), nalidixic acid (81.45%) and tetracycline (75.6%). PFGE analysis revealed 73 pulsotypes for C. jejuni and 54 pulsotypes for C. coli, demonstrating the existance of different and specific clones circulating in Italy. MLST of C.jejuni isolates mainly clustered in the CC353, CC354, CC21, CC206 and CC443; while C.coli isolates clustered only in CC828. The most common flaA alleles were 287 for C. jejuni and 66 for C. coli. Our study confirms that poultry meat is the main source of Campylobacteriosis, whereas red meat had a low level of contamination suggesting a minor role in transmission. The high presence of Campylobacter in retail chicken meat, paired with its increased resistance to antimicrobials with several multidrug resistance profiles detected, is alarming and represents a persistent threat to public health.
Citation: Di Giannatale E, Calistri P, Di Donato G, Decastelli L, Goffredo E, Adriano D, et al. (2019) Thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. in chicken and bovine meat in Italy: Prevalence, level of contamination and molecular characterization of isolates. PLoS ONE 14(12): e0225957. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225957
Editor: Anderson de Souza Sant’Ana, University of Campinas, BRAZIL
Received: July 26, 2019; Accepted: November 16, 2019; Published: December 6, 2019
Copyright: © 2019 Di Giannatale et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.
Funding: This work was supported by the Italian Ministry of Health [grant numbers: MSRCTE0115]. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Keywords: Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; Campylobacter spp.; Food Safety; Poultry; Cattle; Italy.