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Food Research International

New insights in antibiotic resistance of Lactobacillus species from fermented foods

Hikmate Abriouel, María del Carmen Casado Muñoz, Leyre Lavilla Lerma, Beatriz Pérez Montoro, Wilhelm Bockelmann, Rohtraud Pichner, Jan Kabisch, Gyu-Sung Cho, Charles M.A.P. Franz, Antonio Gálvez, Nabil Benomar

Área de Microbiología, Departamento de Ciencias de la Salud, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Jaén, 23071-Jaén, Spain.


Bacteria belonging to the genus Lactobacillus are used as starter cultures or that develop naturally as fermenting microbiota in the production of various foods. On the detrimental side, lactobacilli may act as reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes, which can spread to commensal bacteria in humans or animals, or to food-associated pathogens. In the last decade, advances in molecular biology and in genome sequencing have provided more information on antibiotic resistances in foodborne bacteria. The aim of this review was to consider and provide an up-to-date status on phenotypic and genotypic antibiotic resistance profiles in Lactobacillus species from fermented foods and also to highlight new information on the distribution of glycopeptide and chloramphenicol resistance genes in Lactobacillus genomes. In silico screening of vanZ (vancomycin resistance) and cat (chloramphenicol resistance)-like sequences in Lactobacillus species isolated from fermented foods revealed for the first time the occurrence of vanZ and cat genes in Lactobacillus species being highly conserved genes in the chromosome of each species, presumably non-transferable. Further studies involving genome sequences of Lactobacillus isolated from fermented foods, especially those relying on spontaneous fermentation, is crucial to increase knowledge on the potential presence and spread of antibiotic resistance genes via the food route.

Keywords: Lactobacillus spp.; Fermented foods; Phenotypic and genotypic antibiotic resistance; Horizontal gene transfer; In silico analysis.

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