• Lactobacillus plantarum;
  • Lactobacillus alimentarius;
  • Lactobacillus sakei subsp. sakei;
  • Fermented dry sausage


The ability of 14 Lactobacillus strains, isolated from fermented dry sausages, to transfer tetracycline resistance encoded by tet(M) through conjugation was examined using filter mating experiments. Seven out of 14 tetracycline-resistant Lactobacillus isolates were able to transfer in vitro this resistance to Enterococcus faecalis at frequencies ranging from 10−4 to 10−6 transconjugants per recipient. Two of these strains could also transfer their resistance to Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, whereas no conjugal transfer to a Staphylococcus aureus recipient was found. These data suggest that meat lactobacilli might be reservoir organisms for acquired resistance genes that can be spread to other lactic acid bacteria. In order to assess the risk of this potential hazard, the magnitude of transfer along the food chain merits further research.