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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Identification and characterization of antibiotic resistance genes in Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus plantarum

Egervarn, M.; Roos, S.; Lindmark, H.


Aims:The study aimed to identify the resistance genes mediating atypical minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for tetracycline, erythromycin, clindamycin and chloramphenicol within two sets of representative strains of the species Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus plantarum and to characterize identified genes by means of gene location and sequencing of flanking regions.Methods and Results:A tet(W) gene was found in 24 of the 28 Lact. reuteri strains with atypical MIC for tetracycline, whereas four of the six strains with atypical MIC for erythromycin were positive for erm(B) and one strain each was positive for erm(C) and erm(T). The two Lact. plantarum strains with atypical MIC for tetracycline harboured a plasmid-encoded tet(M) gene. The majority of the tet(W)-positive Lact. reuteri strains and all erm-positive Lact. reuteri strains carried the genes on plasmids, as determined by Southern blot and a real-time PCR method developed in this study.Conclusions:Most of the antibiotic-resistant strains of Lact. reuteri and Lact. plantarum harboured known plasmid-encoded resistance genes. Examples of putative transfer machineries adjacent to both plasmid- and chromosome-located resistance genes were also demonstrated.Significance and Impact of the Study:These data provide some of the knowledge required for assessing the possible risk of using Lact. reuteri and Lact. plantarum strains carrying antibiotic resistance genes as starter cultures and probiotics.


antibiotic resistance; erm genes; Lactobacillus plantarum; Lactobacillus reuteri; tet genes

Published in

Journal of Applied Microbiology
2009, Volume: 107, number: 5, pages: 1658-1668

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    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Food Science

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