Selection of fecal enterococci exhibiting tcrB-mediated copper resistance in pigs fed diets supplemented with copper.
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Copper, as copper sulfate, is increasingly used as an alternative to in-feed antibiotics for growth promotion in weaned piglets. Acquired copper resistance, conferred by a plasmid-borne, transferable copper resistance (tcrB) gene, has been reported in Enterococcus faecium and E. faecalis. A longitudinal field study was undertaken to determine the relationship between copper supplementation and the prevalence of tcrB-positive enterococci in piglets. The study was done with weaned piglets, housed in 10 pens with 6 piglets per pen, fed diets supplemented with a normal (16.5 ppm; control) or an elevated (125 ppm) level of copper. Fecal samples were randomly collected from three piglets per pen on days 0, 14, 28, and 42 and plated on M-Enterococcus agar, and three enterococcal isolates were obtained from each sample. The overall prevalence of tcrB-positive enterococci was 21.1% (38/180) in piglets fed elevated copper and 2.8% (5/180) in the control. Among the 43 tcrB-positive isolates, 35 were E. faecium and 8 were E. faecalis. The mean MICs of copper for tcrB-negative and tcrB-positive enterococci were 6.2 and 22.2 mM, respectively. The restriction digestion of the genomic DNA of E. faecium or E. faecalis with S1 nuclease yielded a band of 194-kbp size to which both tcrB and the erm(B) gene probes hybridized. A conjugation assay demonstrated cotransfer of tcrB and erm(B) genes between E. faecium and E. faecalis strains. The higher prevalence of tcrB-positive enterococci in piglets fed elevated copper compared to that in piglets fed normal copper suggests that supplementation of copper in swine diets selected for resistance.
author list (cited authors)
Amachawadi, R. G., Shelton, N. W., Shi, X., Vinasco, J., Dritz, S. S., Tokach, M. D., ... Nagaraja, T. G.
complete list of authors
Amachawadi, RG||Shelton, NW||Shi, X||Vinasco, J||Dritz, SS||Tokach, MD||Nelssen, JL||Scott, HM||Nagaraja, TG