Clostridium perfringens associated with dairy farm systems show diverse genotypes

Rui Andre Nunes Dos Santos, Jiryes Abdel-Nour, Cathy McAuley, Sean C. Moore, Narelle Fegan, Edward M. Fox*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Clostridium perfringens is a bacterial species of importance to both public and animal health. Frequently found in food system environments, it presents a risk to food animal health such as dairy herds, and may cross contaminate associated ingredients or food products, with potential to cause sporadic and outbreaks of disease in human populations, including gastroenteric illness. In this study, we characterized C. perfringens isolated from bovine, caprine, and ovine dairy farm systems (n = 8, 11 and 4, respectively). Isolates were phenotypically screened for antimicrobial sensitivity profiling, and subjected to whole genome sequencing to elucidate related genetic markers, as well as examine virulence gene markers, mobile genetic elements, and other features. Both toxin type A and type D isolates were identified (78 % and 22 % of isolates, respectively), including 20 novel sequence types. Resistance to clindamycin was most prevalent among antibiotics screened (30 %), followed by erythromycin (13 %), then penicillin and tetracycline (4 %), although an additional 3 isolates were non-susceptible to tetracycline. Most isolates harboured plasmids, which mobilised virulence markers such as etx, cpb2, and resistance markers tetA(P), tetB(P), and erm(Q), on conjugative plasmids. The presence of type D isolates on caprine farms emphasizes the need for control efforts to prevent infection and potential enterotoxemia. Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (cpe) was not identified, suggesting lower risk of gastrointestinal illness from contaminated foods, the presence of other virulence and antimicrobial resistance markers suggests farm hygiene remains an important consideration to help ensure food safety of associated dairy foods produced.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109933
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Early online date17 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sep 2022

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