3 years ago

Occurrence of transferable antibiotic resistances in commercialized ready-to-eat mealworms (Tenebrio molitor L.)

The present study aimed to assess the occurrence of transferable determinants conferring resistance to tetracyclines, macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B, vancomycin, beta-lactams, and aminoglycosides in 40 samples of commercialized edible mealworms (Tenebrio molitor L.) purchased from European Union (EU) and non-EU producers. A high prevalence of tet(K) was observed in all of the samples assayed, with percentages of PCR-based positivity that ranged from 80% (samples from Thailand) to 100% (samples from the Netherlands, Belgium and France). For macrolides, erm(B) prevailed, being detected in 57.5% of the samples assayed, whereas erm(A) and erm(C) were detected with lower frequencies. Genes for resistance to vancomycin were only detected in samples produced in France and Belgium, with 90% and 10% of the samples being positive for vanA, respectively. Beta-lactamase genes were found with low occurrence, whereas the gene aac-aph, conferring high resistance to aminoglycosides, was found in 40% of the samples produced in the Netherlands and Belgium and 20% of the samples produced in Thailand. The results of Principal Coordinate Analysis and Principal Component Analysis depicted a clean separation of the samples collected from the four producers based on the distribution of the 12 AR determinants considered. Given the growing interest on the use of mealworms as a novel protein source, AR detection frequencies found in the present study suggest further investigation into the use of antibiotics during rearing of this insect species and more extensive studies focused on the factors that can affect the diffusion of transferable ARs in the production chain. Until such studies are completed, prudent use of antibiotics during rearing of edible insects is recommended.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S016816051730418X

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