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Occurence of and a possible mechanism for resistance to a quaternary ammonium compound in Listeria monocytogenes

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Kjetil Aune


International Journal of Food Microbiology ; Volume 62. p. 57–63. 2000

Aase, Berit Margrethe; Sundheim, Gunhild; Langsrud, Solveig; Rørvik, Liv Marit

In a study of 200 Listeria monocytogenes isolates, 10% were determined to be resistant to benzalkonium chloride (BC). Serial subcultivation of initially BC sensitive (BCS) and BC resistant (BCR) isolates in sublethal concentrations of BC resulted in enhanced and approximately equal resistance of all strains to the compound. Fifty per cent of the BCR isolates showed resistance to ethidium bromide (EB) as well. A proton motive force (pmf)-dependent efflux of EB was demonstrated in BCR isolates, and in originally sensitive strains adapted to grow in BC. This efflux was not found in BCS strains. The result indicate that BC can induce a broad resistance mechanism based on a pmf-driven efflux pump. There was no indication that this type of resistance was related to resistance to antibiotics. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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