Exploring the antimicrobial resistance profiles of WHO critical priority list bacterial strains

Havenga, Benjamin ; Ndlovu, Thando ; Clements, Tanya ; Reyneke, Brandon ; Waso, Monique ; Khan, Wesaal (2019-12-23)

CITATION: Havenga, B., et al. 2019. Exploring the antimicrobial resistance profiles of WHO critical priority list bacterial strains. BMC Microbiology, 19:303, doi:10.1186/s12866-019-1687-0.

The original publication is available at https://bmcmicrobiol.biomedcentral.com

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.


Background: The antimicrobial resistance of clinical, environmental and control strains of the WHO “Priority 1: Critical group” organisms, Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa to various classes of antibiotics, colistin and surfactin (biosurfactant) was determined. Methods: Acinetobacter baumannii was isolated from environmental samples and antibiotic resistance profiling was performed to classify the test organisms [A. baumannii (n = 6), P. aeruginosa (n = 5), E. coli (n = 7) and K. pneumoniae (n = 7)] as multidrug resistant (MDR) or extreme drug resistant (XDR). All the bacterial isolates (n = 25) were screened for colistin resistance and the mobilised colistin resistance (mcr) genes. Biosurfactants produced by Bacillus amyloliquefaciens ST34 were solvent extracted and characterised using ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled to electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (ESI–MS). The susceptibility of strains, exhibiting antibiotic and colistin resistance, to the crude surfactin extract (cell-free supernatant) was then determined. Results: Antibiotic resistance profiling classified four A. baumannii (67%), one K. pneumoniae (15%) and one P. aeruginosa (20%) isolate as XDR, with one E. coli (15%) and three K. pneumoniae (43%) strains classified as MDR. Many of the isolates [A. baumannii (25%), E. coli (80%), K. pneumoniae (100%) and P. aeruginosa (100%)] exhibited colistin resistance [minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ≥ 4mg/L]; however, only one E. coli strain isolated from a clinical environment harboured the mcr-1 gene. UPLC-MS analysis then indicated that the B. amyloliquefaciens ST34 produced C13–16 surfactin analogues, which were identified as Srf1 to Srf5. The crude surfactin extract (10.00 mg/mL) retained antimicrobial activity (100%) against the MDR, XDR and colistin resistant A. baumannii, P. aeruginosa, E. coli and K. pneumoniae strains. Conclusion: Clinical, environmental and control strains of A. baumannii, P. aeruginosa, E. coli and K. pneumoniae exhibiting MDR and XDR profiles and colistin resistance, were susceptible to surfactin analogues, confirming that this lipopeptide shows promise for application in clinical settings.

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