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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of flavophospholipol on resistance in fecal Escherichia coli and enterococci of fattening pigs.

A "plasmid-curing effect" of multiresistant Escherichia coli by flavophospholipol, an antibiotic used as an antimicrobial growth promoter ( AMGP) in animal feeds, has been reported to occur in vitro and in vivo under experimental conditions. In this study, the effect of flavophospholipol under field conditions was studied. The prevalence and degree (proportion of resistant strains to the total numbers present per gram of feces) of resistance of indicator bacteria, E. coli and enterococci, was determined in fecal samples from three groups of pigs that were fed a commercial finisher feed without any AMGP. Group A was the negative control group without any AMGP, group B received the same feed with 9 mg of flavophospholipol/kg of feed (study group), and group C received the same feed with 15 mg of avoparcin/kg (positive control). Fecal samples from each pig were collected at the start and at the end of the study and assessed for the prevalence and degree of resistance against antibiotics commonly used either for therapy in pig medicine or as an AMGP. Before the start of the study, all pigs were colonized with multiresistant E. coli by mixing three resistant pig isolates through their feed after disturbance of the colonization resistance of the intestinal flora by a 3-day course of lincomycin and spectinomycin. At the end of the study, the overall prevalence and degree of resistance of E. coli in the fecal flora had increased significantly in groups A and C but remained at the same level as at the start of the study in group B. The prevalence of vancomycin resistance was 44 and 41% in groups A and B, respectively, but only very low numbers of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) per gram of feces were found. In the avoparcin-fed group, the prevalence was 72%, and in 57% of the samples, more than 50% of all enterococci present were vancomycin resistant. The prevalence of resistant Enterococcus faecalis increased only in the flavophospholipol-exposed group, from 23% before the start of the study to 43% at the end of the study. It was concluded that flavophospholipol effectively suppressed the augmentation and dissemination of multiresistant E. coli in the intestinal flora of fattening pigs. Avoparcin use strongly selected for VRE carriage and excretion. Therefore, as neither flavophospholipol nor any related molecule is used therapeutically, no cross-resistance with therapeutic antibiotics exists and no transmissible resistance has been shown; the major decrease in resistance in intestinal E. coli of flavophospholipol-fed animals seemed to outweigh the small increase in the risk of transfer of flavophospholipol-resistant E. faecalis from animals to humans via the food chain.[1]


  1. Effects of flavophospholipol on resistance in fecal Escherichia coli and enterococci of fattening pigs. van den Bogaard, A.E., Hazen, M., Hoyer, M., Oostenbach, P., Stobberingh, E.E. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (2002) [Pubmed]
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