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One of the biggest challenges of health care systems worldwide is the increasing number of pathogenic bacteria resistant to a growing number of antibiotics. In this respect, class 1 integrons which are part of mobile genetic elements can confer several phenotypes including resistance to a broad range of antibiotic classes, heavy metals and biocides. They are linked to common resistance genes and have penetrated pathogenic and commensal bacteria likewise. Therefore its relative prevalence can be a proxy for antimicrobial resistance and anthropogenic pollution. Household environments are areas with a high influx of bacteria from humans, animals and foods, and biocides and detergents are frequently used. In this study we aimed to investigate the relative prevalence of class 1 integrons in household environments, in relation to the number of antibiotic and benzalkonium chloride resistant phenotypes of a sample point, for the validation of the relative prevalence of class 1 integrons as a screening tool for multi-resistance. Kitchen sink and bathroom sink U-bends, dishwasher, washing machines and toothbrushes of 28 households were probed. Copies /mL of class 1 integron integrase gene and 16SrDNA gene were determined by qPCR and bacteria of the respective sample were isolated on ampicillin selective agar plates, followed by the determination of the species and phenotypic resistance profiles. The relative prevalence of class 1 integrons in relation to 16SrDNA was calculated and correlated to phenotypic resistance. Our findings show a high relative prevalence of class 1 integrons in water reticulation systems of household environments and in particular shower U-bends. Furthermore, prevalence of class 1 integrons correlates strongly (rs = 0.95) with total phenotypic resistance at a sample point and suggest that a standardized assay determining the relative prevalence of class 1 integrons could be used as a useful screening tool in the assessment of multi-resistance in environmental samples.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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