Prevalence and genomic analysis of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli in retail raw meats in Singapore

Siyao Guo, Kyaw Thu Aung, Pimlapas Leekitcharoenphon, Moon Y F Tay, Kelyn L G Seow, Yang Zhong, Lee Ching Ng, Frank Møller Aarestrup, Joergen Schlundt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and genetic characteristics of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli in retail raw meats from Singapore markets.

METHODS: A total of 634 raw meat (chicken, pork and beef) samples were collected from markets in Singapore during June 2017-October 2018. The samples were enriched overnight and then incubated on Brilliance™ ESBL Agar. Presumptive ESBL isolates were confirmed using the double-disc synergy test. Confirmed ESBL-producing E. coli were sent for WGS and bioinformatic analysis was performed.

RESULTS: The prevalence of ESBL-producing E. coli in chicken, pork and beef meats was 51.2% (109/213), 26.9% (58/216) and 7.3% (15/205), respectively. A total of 225 ESBL-producing E. coli were isolated from 184 samples. β-Lactam resistance genes were detected in all isolates. After β-lactam resistance genes, the most common antimicrobial resistance genes detected were aminoglycoside resistance genes (92.4%). One hundred and seventy-two (76.4%), 102 (45.3%) and 52 (23.1%) isolates carried blaCTX-M genes, blaTEM genes and blaSHV genes, respectively. blaCTX-M-55 (57/225, 25.3%) and blaCTX-M-65 (40/225, 17.8%) were the most frequent ESBL genes. Colistin resistance genes (including mcr-1, mcr-3 and mcr-5) were found in 15.6% of all isolates.

CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that ESBL-producing E. coli are widely found in retail raw meats, especially chicken, in Singapore. Occurrence of MDR (resistance to at least three classes of antimicrobial) and colistin resistance genes in retail raw meat suggests potential food safety and public health risks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)601–605
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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