Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Fresh Produce-Associated Enterobacteriaceae and Enterococci in Oman

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Fresh produce bacteria may have phenotypic and/or genotypic antimicrobial resistance traits that may lead to various consequences on the environment and human health. This study evaluated the susceptibility of fresh produce bacteria (banana, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cucumber, dates, lettuce, mango, papaya, pomegranate, radish, tomato and watermelon) to chlorhexidine and the antibiotic resistance of enterococci. Eighty-eight Enterobacteriaceae bacteria and 31 enterococci were screened for their susceptibility to chlorhexidine using the broth microdilution method. Susceptibility of enterococci to various antibiotics was determined using agar dilution, colorimetric, and Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion methods. Enterococci were more susceptible to chlorhexidine than Enterobacteriaceae indicated by chlorhexidine minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 1 to 8 µg/mL for the former and 1 to 64 µg/mL for the latter. The IntI 1, qacEΔ1, qacE and qacG genes were distributed weakly in three, two, two, and three Enterobacteriaceae isolates, respectively. Enterococci had resistance to chloramphenicol (3%), tetracycline (19%), erythromycin (68%), ciprofloxacin (55%), and vancomycin (10%) while 19% of them were multi-drug resistant. In conclusion, this research detected a low to moderate level of antibiotic resistance in enterococci. Some Enterobacteriaceae bacteria had reduced chlorhexidine MICs that were not 10x less than the recommended concentration (100-200 µg/mL) in food production areas which might challenge the success of the disinfection processes or have clinical implications if the involved bacteria are pathogens. The prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in fresh produce should be monitored in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3085
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 5 2022


  • Enterobacteriaceae
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • chlorhexidine
  • enterococci
  • food safety
  • fruits
  • vegetables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Food Science
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science
  • Microbiology

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