Get access

Organic and conventional fruits and vegetables contain equivalent counts of Gram-negative bacteria expressing resistance to antibacterial agents

Authors

  • Raymond Ruimy,

    1. EA 6934 « Résistance bactérienne in vivo » Université Paris Diderot, and Centre National de Référence sur la résistance aux antibiotiques, Hôpital Bichat Claude Bernard, APHP, Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Co-first authors who contributed equally to this work.

  • Anne Brisabois,

    1. Unité« Caractérisation et épidémiologie bactérienne », Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments, Maison-Alfort, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Co-first authors who contributed equally to this work.

  • Claire Bernede,

    1. Institut Pasteur, INSERM U657, Faculté de Médecine, Université Versailles Saint-Quentin, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Co-second authors who contributed equally to this work.

  • David Skurnik,

    1. EA 6934 « Résistance bactérienne in vivo » Université Paris Diderot, and Centre National de Référence sur la résistance aux antibiotiques, Hôpital Bichat Claude Bernard, APHP, Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Co-second authors who contributed equally to this work.

  • Saïda Barnat,

    1. Agence pour la Recherche et l'Information en Fruits et Légumes Frais (APRIFEL), Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Guillaume Arlet,

    1. EA 2392, Université Pierre et Marie Curie and laboratoire de Bactériologie, Hôpital Tenon, APHP, Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Sonia Momcilovic,

    1. EA 6934 « Résistance bactérienne in vivo » Université Paris Diderot, and Centre National de Référence sur la résistance aux antibiotiques, Hôpital Bichat Claude Bernard, APHP, Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Sandrine Elbaz,

    1. EA 6934 « Résistance bactérienne in vivo » Université Paris Diderot, and Centre National de Référence sur la résistance aux antibiotiques, Hôpital Bichat Claude Bernard, APHP, Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Frédérique Moury,

    1. Unité« Caractérisation et épidémiologie bactérienne », Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments, Maison-Alfort, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marie-Anne Vibet,

    1. Institut Pasteur, INSERM U657, Faculté de Médecine, Université Versailles Saint-Quentin, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Patrice Courvalin,

    1. Institut Pasteur, Unité des Agents Antibactériens, Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Didier Guillemot,

    1. Institut Pasteur, INSERM U657, Faculté de Médecine, Université Versailles Saint-Quentin, France.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Antoine Andremont

    1. EA 6934 « Résistance bactérienne in vivo » Université Paris Diderot, and Centre National de Référence sur la résistance aux antibiotiques, Hôpital Bichat Claude Bernard, APHP, Paris, France.
    Search for more papers by this author

*E-mail antoine.andremont@bch.aphp.fr; Tel. (+33) 1 40 25 85 01; Fax (+33) 1 40 25 85 81.

Summary

Resistance to antibiotics is a major public health problem which might culminate in outbreaks caused by pathogenic bacteria untreatable by known antibiotics. Most of the genes conferring resistance are acquired horizontally from already resistant commensal or environmental bacteria. Food contamination by resistant bacteria might be a significant source of resistance genes for human bacteria but has never been precisely assessed, nor is it known whether organic products differ in this respect from conventionally produced products. We showed here, on a large year-long constructed sample set containing 399 products that, irrespective of their mode of production, raw fruits and vegetables are heavily contaminated by Gram-negative bacteria (GNB) resistant to multiple antibiotics. Most of these bacteria originate in the soil and environment. We focused on non-oxidative GNB resistant to third-generation cephalosporins, because of their potential impact on human health. Among them, species potentially pathogenic for immunocompetent hosts were rare. Of the products tested, 13% carried bacteria producing extended – spectrum beta-lactamases, all identified as Rahnella sp. which grouped into two phylotypes and all carrying the blaRAHN gene. Thus, both organic and conventional fruits and vegetables may constitute significant sources of resistant bacteria and of resistance genes.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary