Isolation of Shiga toxin-producing strains of Escherichia coli from beef and swine carcasses and the characterization of their genes

Keywords: STEC; beef carcasses; swine carcasses; stx1; stx2; eae genes; multiples PCR


Escherichia coli is part of the normal microflora of the intestinal tract of humans and warm-blooded animals, but its presence in raw material and food of animal origin is considered as fecal contamination and can be very dangerous for consumers. The determination of the number of E. coli in raw material and food is important because among them can be pathogenic strains. The most dangerous strains are considered enterohemorrhagic E. coli as a causative agent of severe bloody diarrhea and hemorrhagic uremic syndrome in humans through the production of Shiga-toxin, which is the main virulence factor, responsible for disease. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of Shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli (STEC) from swabs of beef and swine carcass in slaughterhouses in Ukraine and characterize their genes, which are responsible for pathogenic properties. A total of 230 samples of swabs from beef (130) and swine (100) carcasses were obtained from 5 slaughterhouses in Ukraine between 2012 and 2015. Samples of swabs from carcasses were randomly selected at the final point of the process after the final washing of the carcass from the following areas: distal hind limb, abdomen (lateral and medial) from swine carcasses, brisket, flank and flank groin areas from beef carcasses. All samples were examined by culture-dependent method, after that each positive isolate of STEC was analyzed by multiplex PCR to detect the stx1, stx2, and eae genes. Out of 230 collected samples, seven (7.2%) were contaminated with STEC. The highest prevalence of STEC was found in swabs from beef carcasses (8.1%) in comparison to swabs from swine carcasses (5.7%). The stx1 gene was the predominant gene detected in all STEC positive samples. The eae gene was found in one of the examined isolates from beef carcass. Three isolates from swabs of beef carcass carried both stx1 and stx2 genes, one isolate showed association between stx1 and eae genes, one isolate was positive for stx1 gene only. In swabs from swine carcasses (2 isolates) stx1 and stx2 genes were presented simultaneously. The results of this study suggested that fresh raw meat could be a potential vehicle for transmission of the Shiga toxin-producing strain of E. coli to humans. This is the first report of STEC prevalence in beef and swine carcasses in Ukraine and these data will be valuable for microbiological risk assessment and help the appropriate services to develop strategies to mitigate health risk.


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How to Cite
BerhilevychO. М., Kasianchuk, V. V., Deriabin, O. M., & Kukhtyn, M. D. (2018). Isolation of Shiga toxin-producing strains of Escherichia coli from beef and swine carcasses and the characterization of their genes. Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems, 9(2), 275-780.